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Mining pollution to be regulated, at last

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Mining pollution to be regulated, at last

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The mining industry is facing the prospect of European Union laws on the pollution it produces. There has never been common legislation on this before, even though mining accounts for an estimated 29% of the bloc’s total pollution by tonnage. The directive approved by the European Parliament set the conditions for waste storage management. The text aims to prevent long-term water and soil contamination from these sites.

If the law wins the ultimate approval of EU governments, companies would be obliged to give financial guarantees that mined land is returned to an acceptable condition after its resources have been dug out. Any territory directly damaged by extraction operations would have to be covered by this guarantee as well. In 2000, the Danube River carried serious pollution beyond Romania’s Baia Mare accident. The legislation is particularly intended to apply to the new EU member states. The Baia Mare spill released cyanide and heavy metals, which were carried into Hungary.