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Sme: Environment Ministry moves to aid uranium mining effort

The Environment Ministry allegedly wants to deny regional governments the right to stop plans for a geological survey preceding the extraction of radioactive ores. The draft amendment to the geological law comes shortly after the media reported that the Economy Ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding with a Canadian mining company that wants to mine uranium from the Kurišková deposit near Košice, the Sme daily reported on March 2.

The Environment Ministry allegedly wants to deny regional governments the right to stop plans for a geological survey preceding the extraction of radioactive ores. The draft amendment to the geological law comes shortly after the media reported that the Economy Ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding with a Canadian mining company that wants to mine uranium from the Kurišková deposit near Košice, the Sme daily reported on March 2.

The Environment Ministry stated that municipalities have an “inadequate position” and that the amendment is necessary in practice. If it goes through, further deposits will likely become more easily accessible to mining companies. The ban will only pertain to the right to stop the surveys, the ministry promised.

“A geological survey is a temporary activity and it focuses on searching the deposit of minerals in the surveyed locality, not preparation works for mining,” Environment Ministry spokesperson Maroš Stano told Sme, adding that the amendment will not prevent municipalities from using their right of veto to stop mining.

At present the law on mining allows municipalities to reject a proposal to survey a locality where radioactive minerals are located. The changes were passed in 2010, after parliament received a petition with more than 113,000 signatures opposing mining.

Košice City Hall and various civic initiatives oppose the plan. Activists have already launched a petition which has been signed by 1,300 people, Sme wrote.

“Through the amendment to the geological law the ministry us trying to withdraw the competences of municipalities and reverse the results of the biggest environmental petition in the history of Slovakia,” said petition initiator and head of Greenpeace Slovensko Juraj Rizman, as quoted by Sme.

Rizman added that the geological department of the ministry decided to “hold the side of investors who want to examine and later mine Slovak uranium”.

Recently, the Canadian company European Uranium Resources reported that in the Kurišková site is among the biggest uranium deposits in the world, based on a survey made in 2005. In mid December 2012 representatives of the firm and the Environment Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding setting out the positions of both sides if mining is approved.

Source: Sme

For more information about this story please see: Protests against uranium mining go on

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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