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JUNE 18 2006 Ghana: A cyanide spillage at Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL) tailings dam polluted Ajoo stream, killing fish and lobsters A joint on the main tailings returning pipe was disengaged and cyanide-laden tailings poured into the external environment. It has been reported that 30 community members who drank the water or ate the fish and lobsters suffered dizziness, headaches. stomach aches, loss of appetite, itching tongue and skin itches.

JANUARY 2006: Czech cyanide leak kills thousands of fish in Elbe

NOVEMBER 28, 2005, ROMANIA Cyanide Pollution from local mine risks reaching Hungary A cyanide spill from the Bursa mining exploitation was expected to contaminate the Hungarian section of Tisza River...

OCTOBER 11 and 31, 2005, PHILIPPINES: Lafayette Mining's Rapu Rapu polymetallic project in the Philippines had two spills of process treatment water allegedly causing cyanide contamination of nearby waters with the first causing a small fish kill.

JUNE 20, 2005, LAOS: A cyanide spill occurred at the Phu Bia gold mine in Laos, operated by Australian company Pan Australian Resources. The cyanide killed fish in the nearby rivers and poisoned villagers within at least 3km of the mine site. Numerous sources in Laos, including government officials have reported that at least 60-100s of villagers fell ill as a result of poisoning after eating contaminated fish and drinking contaminated water. Despite confirmation by the government owned media that hundreds of villagers were poisoned from the cyanide spill, the company has claimed that no one suffered illness as a result of the incident. Read Mineral Policy Institute's report at:

JANUARY 11, 2005, GHANA: Wexford Ghana Limited at Akyempim in the Western Region, a subsidiary of Bogoso Gold Limited and owned by Golden Star Resources spilled cyanide into River Kubekro

OCTOBER 23 2004, GHANA: A cyanide spill occurred from a new tailings dam of Canadian company Bogoso Gold Limited into the river Aprepre, which serves as drinking water for surrounding communities, as well as other rivers including Egya Nsiah, Benya and Manse. Villagers downstream found hundreds of dead fish, crabs, shrimps and other life forms floating on the river. Some members of the community harvested and ate the fish before they received information about the spillage. (Source:

OCTOBER 2004 WESTERN AUSTRALIA: A report commissioned by the WA Government into the tailings dams at the Kalgoorlie Gold mine confirmed that the mine has been leaking cyanide into the surrounding groundwater which was contaminated by cyanide and heavy metals. Surrounding community members have been complaining of impacts for over a decade but the company had previously denied the allegations.

JANUARY 30 2004, AUSTRALIA: A report commissioned by the Western Australia Government into the tailings dams at the Kalgoorlie Gold mine confirmed that the mine had been leaking cyanide into the surrounding groundwater. Surrounding community members had been complaining of impacts for over a decade but the company had previously denied the allegations. (Media Release by Robin Chapple, MLC, WA Legislative Council)

AUGUST 7 2004 PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Cyanide was discharged from the Misima mine, a subsidiary of Placer Dome, during decommissioning of the minesite, polluting oceans around the small island. The discharge resulted in poisoning of marine life, with reports of dead fish found floating in the oceans confirmed by the company as linked to the discharge. (The National, PNG, 11 of August)

JUNE 25 2004 CHINA: The State Council of China reported seven cases of leaks of lethal chemical products in the past week, which claimed a total of 21 lives across the country. The latest was a hydrogen cyanide gas leak from a gold mining plant in Beijing's suburban district of Huairou that killed three people and left another 15 hospitalized. (Source: People's Daily Online, 25th June 2004)

MARCH 21 2004, GHANA: Villagers near Prestea Sankofa Goldmine, a concession own by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) in the Western Region spotted a cyanide spillage in their river and reported the matter to the mine.

MARCH 24 2004, NEW ZEALAND: About thirty-five people were evacuated from a Lower Hutt transit depot as emergency services mopped up a toxic chemical spill. Two 180-litre drums of cyanide solution were damaged inside the Mainfreight depot, possibly by a forklift.

MARCH 18 2004, ROMANIA: Romania's Siret River, a tributary of the Danube, was reported to be contaminated by cyanide. The chemicals involved in the spill leaked from a deactivated chemical processing plant, where storage conditions may not have been up to international standards. Estimates are that "10 tons of toxic substances leaked into the river", according to Ioan Jelev, of Romania's Environment Ministry. A similar incident occured in 2001 in the same place, poisoning fish. (Source: Reuters).

MAY 29 2003, GHANA: A cyanide spillage occurred at Tarkwa gold mine in the Wassa West District, when the dangerous chemical spilled from one of three newly constructed pipelines.

JANUARY 14 2003, NICARAGUA: A cyanide solution spill took place at the Canadian gold-mining company HEMCONIC and/or Greenstone in Bonanza, in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, dumping cyanide into the Bambana river. Health workers from local Indigenous communities reported the deaths of twelve children who are suspected of having been poisoned by drinking water from the Bambana River.
(Source: WRM's bulletin Nš 74, September 2003).

JANUARY 2003, WESTERN HONDURAS: A massive cyanide spill at the San Andrés mine, department of Copán, Western Honduras, contaminated the Lara River, which feeds into the river providing drinking water for the town of Santa Rosa de Copán. Even though local inhabitants reported witnessing company employees hauling away evidence, they managed to amass some 18,000 dead fish, a testament to the environmental destruction caused to the now lifeless river and to the ecosystems it nourishes. The chemicals killed off fish in the Lara River, which flows into the Higuito, the main supply of potable water for the Santa Rosa de Copan region, one of the cradles of the ancient Maya civilisation. Minosa was slapped with a 54,000-dollar fine for contaminating the environment after a cyanide spill was discovered.

DECEMBER 2nd, 2003 USA: A cyanide spill was reported near the Briggs Mine in Balleratt.

JUNE 18th 2002, GHANA: The residents of Togbekrom, a farming community near Akyempim in the Wassa Mpohor East district of the Western Region, appealed to the Minister of Environment and Science to come to their aid immediately. Due to the closeness of the mine to the village, the cyanide being used by the company in its operations is giving them a lot of health problems.
(Source: Emmanuel Akli, Akyempim Ghanaian Chronicle Accra, June 18th, 2002)

JUNE 9 2002, NEVADA, USA: Leaching process solution used at the Denton-Rawhide Mine, located in Mineral County, Nevada, overflowed containment structures from a ruptured pipe triggering the mine’s Emergency Response Plan. Approximately 40,000 gallons of dilute cyanide process solution spilled into the environment. The spill was caused by a failure of a weld on a 16-inch diameter pipeline that was carrying process solution from a lined storage pond to a lined heap leach pad. The process solution is at a concentration of about 140 parts of cyanide per million parts of solution, resulting in a spill of approximately 47 pounds of cyanide.

MAY 16 2002, NEVADA, USA: Twenty-four thousand gallons of cyanide solution were spilled at a mining facility, Twin Creeks Mine, owned by Newmont Mining Company. A Nevada official said 10,000 gallons entered a creek. In recent years, the owner of the proposed Crandon mine spilled cyanide twice, including a 13,000 pound spill of cyanide in Arizona. In another accident, 300,000 cubic yards of mine wastes were spilled into an Arizona creek.
(Source: Humboldt County News - 16 May 2002)

NOVEMBER 2001, CHINA - Eleven tonnes of liquid sodium cyanide leaked into a tributary of the Luohe river in Henan province, China over the weekend after a traffic accident. The Luohe river is a shallow tributary of the Yellow River, the cradle of Chinese civilisation and a major waterway in northern China. Livestock Animals were poisoned and at least one person sickened by contamination.

OCTOBER, 2001, GHANA - Villages in the Wassa West District of Ghana's western region were hit by the spillage of thousands of cubic metres of mine wastewater contaminated with cyanide and heavy metals when a tailings dam ruptured at a mine operation owned by the South African company, Goldfields.. Virtually all life forms in the River Asuman and its tributaries were decimated, and people's livelihoods are endangered. Scientists fear the cyanide and heavy metal residue from the spill could remain for decades posing a health and environmental threat to the people and wildlife in the area.

- Two weeks after the previous cyanide spill in Ghana, a second cyanide spillage occured in Ghana again, this time in a swamp area that provides the local people with mud fish, local medicines and bamboo for a wide range of uses.

JUNE 30 2000, PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Rio Tinto's Lihir mine spilt cyanide into the ocean. The Australian Government's Export Finance and Insurance Company (EFIC) provided $US250 million in finance guarantees to this mine. (The guarantees were provided after the United States Export Credit and Investment Insurance Agency OPIC rejected the Lihir project on environmental grounds.) The Lihir proposal approved by EFIC used 1800 tonnes of highly toxic sodium cyanide annually to extract gold at the mine site. The process leaves considerable cyanide concentrations in the tailings.

JANUARY, 2000, ROMANIA/HUNGARY - Thousands of tons of fish died in the Tisza and Danube rivers from a cyanide spill last year near Baia Mare in northwestern Romania. 130,000 cubic yards of cyanide-tainted water was discharged from a gold mine reservoir into river systems in Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia. The incident is described as Europe's worst river pollution disaster in a decade. Biologists estimate that at least 5 years is needed to restock fish there, and 10-20 years for most river life to return. The upper Tisza was one of Europe's cleanest rivers and was home to at least 20 species of protected fish. Rare Osprey, river otters, fox, many other birds, mammals and wildlife are known to have died from ingesting poisoned fish.

DECEMBER, 2000, GUYANA: The Essequibo region of Guyana is again the victim of mine pollution that has caused widespread harm including rashes, diarrhoea, and vomiting among the residents after using the river water. This latest incident comes five years after the August 1995 gold mine disaster at Omai, where 3.2 billion liters of cyanide tainted waste contaminated the Essequibo river which also lead to discoloration and health problems. Communities downstream from the Omai gold mine have reported a "reddish, silty" discharge in the Essequibo making the river, which is the main or only source of water for many villages, unfit for use.

AUGUST 1995, GUYANA - More than 3.2 billion litres of cyanide-laden tailings were released into Essequibo river in Guyana when a dam collapsed at the Omai gold mine. Studies by the Pan American Health Organization have shown that all aquatic life in the 4 kilometer long creek that runs from the mine to the Essequibo was killed


APRIL 5 2003, TAIWAN: More than 100 people in Taichung County were hospitalised after being poisoned by liquefied cyanide from an overturned truck. Environmental officials feared the cyanide, which flowed into a nearby sewer, could create an ecological disaster when it streamed into the sea through Taichung Harbour.

Transportation concerns pre-May 2002:

FEBRUARY 2002, AUSTRALIA – 400 litres of liquid cyanide was spilled in the Northern Territory , Australia and killed over 500 birds, a dingo and some kangaroos.

MARCH, 2000, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - The Australian mining company Dome Resources contaminated an important water system in the Papua New Guinea rainforest. While flying from the capital Port Moresby to the Tolukuma mine, a Dome helicopter dropped a crate containing one tonne of sodium cyanide pellets the most concentrated form of cyanide into the rainforest.

MAY 20, 1998, KYRGYZSTAN - A truck transporting cyanide to the Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan plunged off a bridge spilling almost two tons of sodium cyanide (1,762 kilograms) into local surface waters. Local people have reported at least 4 deaths that may have resulted from the spill. Hundreds of people also checked into local hospitals complaining of health problems following the spill.


FEBRUARY 13 2003, New York, USA: New York City hospitals were placed on high alert after the government warned of a potential cyanide gas attack by terrorists. The use of cyanide in acts of terrorism is an increasing concern to U.S. officials. The city Health Department has urged hospitals to increase levels of sodium thiosulfate, the antidote to cyanide, and other pharmaceutical agents in emergency rooms to deal with chemical warfare. (Source: Daily News Police Bureau)

MAY 17 2002, Texas, USA: The hijacking of ten tons of deadly cyanide en route to a mine shows the risks of trucking huge amounts of cyanide through Wisconsin to the headwaters of the Wolf River. The hijacking took place some 500 miles south of Brownsville, Texas. When the truck was found there were unconfirmed reports that some of the cyanide was missing.

MAY 28 2002, MEXICO: Nearly eight tons of sodium cyanide to be used in silver mining was hijacked from a truck in central Mexico and has not been recovered despite an extensive law enforcement search. The incident raised serious concerns among officials of a potential security threat in Mexico and the United States, due to the extreme toxicity of the substance. The chemical is commonly used in gas chamber executions, and even trace amounts can be deadly when inhaled or ingested. (Source: Washington Post Company)

FEBRUARY 1994, SOUTH AFRICA: Ten miners were killed when a disused slime dam at the Harmony mine in South Africa, operated by Randgold, burst its banks and buried a housing complex in cyanide-laced mud.


Cyanide blamed for Albay fish kills: Nov 07, 2005:

Toxic Spill Dispute Revived in Kyrgyzstan - August 7, 2005

Story from the News and Star, Cumberland UK
Cyanide spill probe continues
Published on 15/03/2005
By Nick Griffiths

POLICE are still investigating whether someone deliberately caused the cyanide spill which sparked a major public health scare in Carlisle last week.

Part of the city was cordoned off and residents were warned to stay indoors after a chemical cocktail was spilled at Cumbria Plating Services, off Currock Road, on Friday.

It was later confirmed there were small amounts of cyanide in the solution – but other chemicals present cancelled out any danger to the public.

Alastair Laurie, owner of the firm, said he suspected sabotage after claiming he arrived at work to find the spillage.

Police confirmed they were investigating and said today their inquiries were still ongoing.

During the health scare, police declared a major incident and emergency services set up a Gold Command centre – the same level used in the January floods – at Carlisle Castle.

Two people from the firm, which puts protective coatings on metal and has five employees, were decontaminated and taken to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle to be checked as a precaution.

The Health and Safety Executive is also investigating what happened.

Cyanide And Fire

POSTED: 9:12 p.m. MDT April 4, 2005April 4, 2005 -- Luz Kellar- Prime Cuts Manager, "I was coming to work when I saw the fire department and ambulance."
Tenants and clients at this shopping strip on Lee Trevino were evacuated as firefighters fought a blaze.

Jesus Lopez- Prime Cuts, "I'm worried about our clientele and the damages to our store."

The fire started at Flores Jewelry....where cyanide pellets and an oxygen tank are used on a daily basis. Those two elements made this fire especially dangerous to fire fighters and people in the surrounding area.

Lt. Mario Hernandez- Fire Marshal's Office, "From there it went to a full blown hazmat incident, at this time we have hazmat crews inside trying to contain it."

Fire officials say cyanide, used to clean jewelry, is a poisonous gas that can affect the heart and brain. In fact it's used in the gas chamber. Cyanide fumes can spread through the air and it can be harmful to anyone that breaths it in. The oxygen tank, used for welding jewelry, could intensify the fire.

Hernandez, "It can react to the fire and if it burns it lets out toxic smokes and we don't want to endanger fire fighters or investigators when they go back inside."

The Hazmat crew was able to contain the 45 gallon container of cyanide pellets and the oxygen tank with no incident.

Rosalinda Diaz- Property Owner, "It was pretty scary I was very worried and concerned about my tenants but mainly I'm glad nothing major happened."

The damage was contained to the Jewelry Store. Those damages estimate to 30-thousand dollars.

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