събота, 10 април 2010 г.

A Submission to the European Union and the United Nations Environmental Programme

A Submission to the European Union and the
United Nations Environmental Programme
Dr. Robert E. Moran
22 February 2002
Sponsored by Hellenic Mining Watch, Ecotopia, CEE Bankwatch,
FOE Europe, FOE Hungary (MTVSz) , FOE Czech Republic (Hnuti
DUHA), Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN),
MineWatch UK, and Mineral Policy Center
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Foreword
Cyanide is a chemical that is both efficient in extracting gold from mined ore, and
lethal. Cyanide is a chemical lethal to humans in small quantities; a teaspoon of
2% cyanide solution can cause death.
Processing chemicals such as cyanide have made it profitable to mine ore
bodies with low ore grades. Such ore bodies would have been left un-mined in
the past. However, this method of mining, using large quantities of cyanide to
remove microscopic specs of gold from vast amounts of ore or crushed rock, is
generating more and more controversy. Due to a string of spills and accidents,
there is growing concern about the environmental, human health, and human
rights impacts of large-scale mining operations that use cyanide. Mines that use
cyanide as a processing agent often lead to conflicts over the use of land and
natural resources such as water. Too often gold mines of this type cause human
rights violations like forced evictions and the destruction of land and water, thus
depriving communities and people of their very base of existence (clean water,
lands for agriculture, forest and fishing). The recent history of cyanide spills is
fostering growing public concern about the potential for more spills and
accidents, leading to massive water pollution problems. In response, a number
of jurisdictions have banned dangerous mining practices and others are seeking
to implement similar bans.
Often industry representatives, industry trade associations, and governments
attempt to dismiss public concerns about cyanide and its impacts. They argue
that modern cyanide process mi nes can be, and are, well managed. They argue
that responsible companies will not pollute. They even argue that responsible
companies should be allowed to self-regulate their mine operations.
Unfortunately, the record does not support this argument.
Public concerns are based upon mounting evidence that too often things go
wrong, even when companies claim to have good management systems in place.
More importantly, as this report will demonstrate, most of what has been
proposed by industry and governments in regard to cyanide management misses
the mark. These “codes” or regulations fail to address the issues that are of most
concern to the public. Issues such as protecting land resources, communities,
and water resources. Arguably, current “code” and regulatory proposals amount
to greenwashing in that they give the appearance that governments and mining
companies are addressing environmental issues, when in fact they are not.
At the core of any legitimate discussion of the regulation of mining, must be the
issue of community consent. The sponsors of this report (Hellenic Mining Watch,
Ecotopia, CEE Bankwatch, FOE Europe, FOE Hungary (MTVSz), FOE Czech
Republic (Hnuti DUHA), Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN),
MineWatch UK, and Mineral Policy Center support the rights of communities to
make their own decisions about whether or not they want to allow large-scale
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mining and, if so, under what conditions. In some cases this has led
communities and governments to simply ban cyanide process mines. In no
instance should a community be forced to accept a project that they do not want,
the risks are too high.
Note: The views expressed in this foreword are those of the project sponsors.


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