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Romania: Fears Of A New Chemical Disaster / European Journal


Ten years ago, a number of eastern European rivers were contaminated by cyanide after a toxic spill at a gold reprocessing plant in northern Romania. Residents are protesting against efforts at the plant to resume the extraction of gold by using cyanide.It was one of Europe’s worst-ever chemical disasters. In January 2000, the Sasar, the Tisza and the Danube were contaminated by a spill of at least 100,000 cubic meters of water containing cyanide which had originated at the Aurul gold processing plant in Baia Mare, northern Romania. The plant has now been bought up by a Russian company, which wants to resume the extraction of gold using cyanide. Residents are up in arms and have turned to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg – which already ruled against the Romanian state last year in a separate case concerning residents’ rights to a healthy and protected environment.