10 Reasons Why We are Against The Use Of Cyanide In The Gold Mine Operation
1. Resident Is At High Risk To Be The Victims Of Hazardous Materials
Within a month after the Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) start its operation, more than 300 residents from nearly villages were medically reported suffering with illness including: rashes, red and watery pupils, throat irritation, short breathing, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and others sign and symptoms of health problem. The resident’s healths are at high risk exposing to chronic poison.
2. SO2 & HCN Pollutants Have Exceeded The Limits
Air Quality was monitored by measuring devices bought by the residence. It indicated that (till 7/8/2011)
- SO2 : detected 0.3- 47.66ppm of Sulfur Dioxide (Industrial safety index is
According to EPA, USA requirements, SO2 shall not exceed 0.3ppm, and not to be exceeded more than 4 times in a calendar year.
However, in a period of 9 months, the index has been found exceeding the limit 33 times. The highest SO2 detected, i.e. 47.6ppm is exceeding the safety limits by 150 times. A simple calculation tell the truth.
- Hydrogen Cyanide: Detected 0.3- 30ppm (Occasionally) (Industrial safety index
Exposure of 20ppm HCN for few hours will trigger various poisonous related decease and can be lethal.
3. Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) is just NEXT TO residence area, the nearest distance found in the world. There is no buffer zone between RAGM and residencies area.
4. Huge Usage of Hazardous Chemicals
Use large amount of hazardous chemicals annually:
- 400 tones of Sodium Cyanide, average 1.5 tones a day. (A little mount of 100-200mg NaCN is enough put a person unconscious in10 seconds and to take a life in a minute)
- 131.4 tones of Sulfur Dioxide and etc.
5. RAGM failed to fulfill the International Safety Standards. Is not the signatory of International Cyanide Management Code as claim
- Dr. Glenn C. Miller, an Environmental Science expert from US that specialize in cyanide mining had performed an on-site investigation in February 2008 and released a report in 29th May in the same year. Report disclosed:
- The design of the gold mine operation and waste disposal treatment was found defeated, and it failed to fulfill the International Safety Standards. The tailing will contain heavy metal and acidic waste, causes the metal-cyanide contamination. And this severely polluted the underground water, up to hundreds years of effect.
- The gold mine claimed that they are complying to international safety standards, but failed to announce they are following which standards. Moreover, the official website of International Cyanide Management Code indicates that the company didn’t sign the code, or comply with the standards and the operational codes. (Dr. Glenn C. Miller is one of the committee members of ICMC).
6. RAGM Did Not Announce the Waste Water And Air Treatment Procedure And The Environmental Management Plan
In the 1997 PEIA, RAGM suggested to store the tailings that contained Cyanide and others hazardous waste in the open pit area and voids created by mining at the old tailings areas under dumping back arrangement.
There were not clear statements what are the waste treatment and detox procedure to prevent the hazardous tailing from being drained or contaminating the underground water. Up to date, RAGM failed to answer any queries related to this hazardous tailing disposal treatment.
There are 8 of the three storey height open tanks that contain processing fluid in operation every day. The hazardous gas (e.g. HCN and SO2) will be vaporized and spread as far as 5 km in diameter. The polluted air may cause acid rains that will cause serious health consequences, and leach into groundwater or nearby surface water that will polluted the water source.
RAGM did not response on the request to announce its Environmental Management Plan that will detail their environmental controls. RAGM also refuse to report the water quality and air quality monitoring results publicly.
7. RAGM is using Cyanide extraction process which is banned by many developed countries.
Cyanide extraction method is banned in many countries like: Germany, Turkey, Romania, Greece, Honduras, and Argentina, the federated states of Colorado, Wisconsin and Montana of U.S.A, followed by many other countries. Most of the environmental protection agencies all over the world is banned the Cyanide extraction process.
8. RAGM didn’t declare its Emergency Response Plan
Under the CIMA (1996) regulation, in the case the manufacturer is storing, producing or using more than 20 tones of Sulfur Dioxide, it is the manufacturer obligation to prepare an off-site emergency plan for the area surrounding his site. It is the duty of manufacturer to supply appropriate information to the concerned public without their having to request for it . The information included the hazardous and risk of the chemicals, nature of a major accident hazards including its potential effects on the population and the environment, how will be warned and kept inform in the event of an accident or emergency, method to evacuate and etc.
However, the company that used more than 130 tones of SO2 is failed to engage local villagers till now, despite many attempts to request for the information,
Furthermore, any forms of explanation and clarification session held by the invited experts were stopped and refrained by the police.
9. They is no such thing as “Cyanide Safeness”
- The Cyanide leakage incidents have brought to environment disaster and catastrophe all around the world.
- The most severe Cyanide contamination case happened in Romania (30th January 2000). A major leak and spillage from gold mine reservoir, releasing more than 100 thousand cubic meter of cyanide-rich and chemical contaminated waste water. The contaminant travelled via tributaries into the Somes &Tisza river and finally into the Danube river before reaching the Black Sea. Affected areas are as wide as Romania, Hungry, and Yugoslavia. Two thousands meter square of the Danube River was found contaminated after this incident. Putting the residence along the riverside at the lethal risk.
10. RAGM did not include Cyanide detoxification in its operating cost.
- When the company first opens for its IPO in , they stated that detoxification has not been included in the operating costs as the cyanide destruction is not required it by the local authority.
- This is offending the Malaysia Environmental Quality Act requirements.
- RAGM does not include any funding and provision in terms of Cyanide leaking and recovery of environmental pollution.