To protect water resources and biological diversity, MEPs want the Commission to propose a complete ban on the use of cyanide mining technologies in the EU before the end of 2011. They also believe companies dealing with the management of waste from the extractive industries should be forced to take out insurance to cover costs in the event of an accident and that mining projects in the EU involving cyanide technology should receive no support from the Commission or Member States.
In a resolution adopted on Wednesday by 488 votes to 48 with 57 abstentions, Parliament argues that a complete ban "is the only safe way to protect our water resources and ecosystems against cyanide pollution from mining activities". It urges the development and application of safer – in particular cyanide-free – mining.
MEPs call on the Commission and the Member States "not to support, either directly or indirectly, any mining projects in the EU that involve cyanide technology until the general ban is applicable, nor to support any such projects in third countries".
The Commission is asked to encourage redevelopment of the areas where cyanide mining is banned, through financial support for alternative green industries, renewable energy and tourism.
The joint resolution also asks the Commission to put forward an amendment to existing legislation on the management of waste from the extractive industries requiring that every operating company should take out insurance to cover compensation for damage and all remedial costs incurred in restoring a site to its original ecological and chemical status in the event of an accident or malfunction.