Australian Company Blamed for Romanian Cyanide Spill

Feb. 11, 2000
An Australian mining company has been blamed for a major environmental disaster that began about 11 days ago in Hungary. The Hungarian authorities say a cyanide leak from a gold mine in Romania part-owned by the company, Esmeralda Enterprises, has contaminated waters in the Tisza and Szamos rivers, killing tons of fish and leaving parts of Hungary without drinking water. Officials from Hungary and Romania have decided to seek compensation for the disaster and are setting up a joint committee to evaluate the extent of the disaster -- which Hungarian officials are calling the worst in a decade. Esmeralda Exploration's executives have described the reports as exaggerated and have blamed the spill on bad weather. They have defended their company's safety record, insisting they took steps to contain the leak as soon as they became aware of it. Nonetheless, trading in Esmeralda Exploration's shares has been suspended. SOURCE: BBC News Online

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