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Government approves ban on mining radioactive substances

THE ISSUE of mining radioactive substances has resonated in Slovakia mainly in connection with a uranium deposit in Jahodná near Košice. In response to a long-running dispute between locals and the mining company, the Slovak government in its May 21 session approved an amendment to the geological law that bans any mining of radioactive substances in the country.

THE ISSUE of mining radioactive substances has resonated in Slovakia mainly in connection with a uranium deposit in Jahodná near Košice. In response to a long-running dispute between locals and the mining company, the Slovak government in its May 21 session approved an amendment to the geological law that bans any mining of radioactive substances in the country.

The amendment, drafted by the Environment Ministry, stipulates that any exceptions can be made only if the mining (including of iron ore deposits) is approved by a referendum of inhabitants of the towns and villages, and the cadastre. Thus, mining companies will have to ask the municipalities involved to organise a local referendum on mining in the given area. Only after a positive outcome can they apply for a license with the mining authority.

Since 2005, the Ludovika Energy company, a subsidiary of Canadian European Uranium Resource, has been doing geological prospecting in the Jahodná uranium deposit, the SITA newswire wrote. This April, however, it agreed to its acquisition with the Australian company Forte Energy. The licence for prospecting is valid until April 2015. When the prospecting began, a wave of protests by environmentalists and civic activists occurred in the surrounding municipalities.

The Environmental Ministry argues in its draft with boosting direct democracy in the administration of local self-administration issues via the inhabitants involved. It should also solve disputes surrounding the mining of uranium which, according to Environment Minister Peter Žiga, harms Slovak society. The ministry proposes that parliament approve the draft amendment in a fast-tracked proceeding.

(Source: SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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