Cyanide from gold mine threatens pristine nature in eastern Serbia


Dundee Precious Metals intends to open a gold mine and exploit ore utilizing cyanide in the Homolje space in Serbia. Environmental and native associations oppose the challenge and argue exploitation would endanger the setting, primarily watercourses. The Kreni-promeni platform launched a petition towards the gold mine.

Not far from the village of Laznica, in the municipalities of Žagubica and Majdanpek in eastern Serbia, Canada-based Dundee Precious Metals plans to open a gold mine, Potaj čuka – Tisnica. The firm intends to make use of the method of extracting gold with cyanide.

Cyanide leaching makes it worthwhile to mine ore that has a decrease proportion of gold, just like the one discovered in the Homolje space. However, the compound impacts residing organisms rapidly, devastating the setting.

Cyanide impacts residing organisms rapidly and devastates the setting

According to the plan, the mine would work for seven years, and Serbia would earn EUR 43 million in ore hire, lawyer Aleksandar Grujić informed N1 tv. The estimated worth of the funding is EUR 186 million. The space of exploitation would unfold on 292 sq. kilometers.

Approximately 48.3 million tons of overburden and 19.3 million tons of ore could be excavated – a complete of 67.5 million tons of excavated terrain, in keeping with the Mašina portal. The mine would even have 7-megaton tailings dump on Bigar hill.

Locals oppose the mining challenge

Citizens and environmental activists say they’d not enable pristine nature on the foot of Homolje to develop into a mine and a tailings pond.

“The mining works have not started here in Laznica yet, and that is good. Once it starts, it’s like cancer – it metastasizes,” commented environmental activist Aleksandar Jovanović Ćuta, who joined the locals in their battle.

Residents consider the disaster would occur if a mine is opened and begins utilizing cyanide – for farmers, vegetable growers, fruit growers, cattle breeders, fishermen, beekeepers. What else may anybody do there, fearful residents surprise.

“I urge that we do not allow exploration works to begin at all. Because once they come, we will have the same problem in five or ten years as we now have with Jadar. And their departure would be very expensive,” architect Sonja Pavlović says.

She referred to Rio Tinto’s lithium challenge in Jadar close to Loznica, which has precipitated turmoil all through Serbia. Activists anticipate the combat for nature conservation in the Homolje space would obtain the deserved help.

A ton of ore for a gram of gold

The common amount of gold is measured in grams per ton of ore. Exploitation could be carried out by the tactic of heap leaching. The ore is crushed, then unfold over a big space, and sprayed with sodium cyanide.

Dundee additionally runs the Timok Gold Project in Serbia, which is in the event part. The feasibility examine for the Potaj čuka – Tisnica ought to be ready at first of subsequent yr.

Citizens say it loud and clear – they don’t need a gold mine

Homolje already has gold, ecologists say – its watercourses and the pristine nature in this a part of Serbia. Over 12,000 signatures have been collected up to now in a petition on the Kreni-promeni platform. The calls for are addressed to the Government of Serbia and related ministries.

Photo: Tom Fisk / Pexels

Gold that doesn’t shine

The activists level to the risks of cyanide leaching. The cleanest components of Serbia may very well be poisoned. Open-pit mining, crushing, and grinding ore would end result with substantial mud emissions. The area has the most important steady forest space in Serbia. It is the most important ingesting water reservoir in Serbia, and leaching with sodium cyanide would pollute the water.

Leaching is out of the query, says minister

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlović said the usage of cyanide in ore processing in Serbia wouldn’t be allowed. “If there are some alternative technologies, then we will talk, and otherwise it is out of the question,” she confused.

The gold mine is in contradiction with the municipality’s growth

Opening a mine would collide with the spatial plan of the municipality of Žagubica. The plan units out pointers for environmental safety, growth of tourism, agriculture, forestry, searching, and fishing.

Resistance in the area

The catastrophe in neighboring Romania that occurred in 2000 on the Baia Mare web site must be remembered. Then, 3.5 million cubic meters of cyanide-contaminated tailings from the native gold mine spilled into the Tisza and destroyed the ecosystem in 400 kilometers of the river’s basin.

Rosia Montana village is an instance

One of the distinguished struggles of residents towards mining initiatives that pose a hazard to the setting additionally came about in Romania. In the Transylvanian village of Rosia Montana, locals fought for years towards the opening of a gold mine. And they saved the village.

The mining firm began shopping for homes in the world, however about 100 residents refused to promote them. With the help of environmentalists, architects, archaeologists, and legal professionals, they fought in courtroom towards the company and the state. The fundamental concern was the hazard of leaching gold with cyanide, particularly after the incident from Baia Mare. However, the dispute between the mining firm and the Romanian authorities stays ongoing.

Opposing undesirable mining initiatives has been occurring for many years in Romania and Greece

There can also be a battle in Greece. Citizens have been against gold exploitation since 2003 in Halkidiki. The Greek authorities has thought-about opening gold mines throughout the nation, with the concept such investments would create jobs and produce a whole lot of tens of millions of euros into the financial system. However, they’ve a huge effect on the setting and thus encounter robust resistance.

All mentioned initiatives point out how invasive the hunt for revenue may be for native communities and environmental safety. The fundamental argument in such a battle is that mining may be sustainable provided that the character of the area doesn’t change and whether it is carried out in the final curiosity of society.

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