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Impact of Mining Activity upon Environment in Roşia Montană

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Author(s): SIGISMUND DUMA

Journal: Romanian Review of Regional Studies
ISSN 1841-1576

Volume: IV;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 87;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Gold | Roşia Montană | Mining activity | Ecological impact | Risks

ABSTRACT
Roşia Montană is the greatest gold ore in Romania and one of the greatest in Europe, and its exploitation has been carried out since Antiquity up to nowadays. If the traditional extraction and processing technologies had a minimal impact upon environment, the ones adopted in modern times have affected all the components of the natural environment. In the perspective of capitalizing the gold ore through the programme elaborated by the Canadian company, Gold Corporation, the zonal geographical space will be degraded up to the level of industrial dessert over an area of 100 km2 and in case of damage, the affected area can extend enormously. The environmental problems are related both to the specific nature of such an industrial activity and, especially, to the use of enormous quantities of sodium cyanide directly on the preparation flux from the industrial plant. Few such cases are known worldwide, in several economically less developed countries. Usually, cyanides are used for treating the gold concentrations, operation done in conditions of maximum security, in closed spaces, situated in isolated zones and the neutralization (detoxification) of cyanides is done in situ. The treatment of cyanides in open spaces has always generated environmental problems. Moreover, none of the cyanide treatment technologies eliminates entirely their toxic effect (less toxic chemical products are obtained). In order to avoid the production of an environmental disaster and to preserve the local patrimony values (in this place there lies the richest mining archeological site in Europe), we elaborated several recommendations we consider feasible as they allow both the capitalization of ore, which is a socio-economic necessity of the area, and the ecological reconstruction of the affected geographical space.
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