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Waste in Roșia Montană

Documents:  Waste Management Plan - 2006

As regards waste management, we aim at minimizing the quantity of waste we generate, as well as at recycling, treating and disposing the waste in such a way so as to protect the environment and people’s health.

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Two types of waste will be generated by the mining activities: waste resulting from gold and silver extraction – called mining waste, and non-mining waste.

Most of the waste generated by the Roşia Montană Project is mining waste – waste rock and process tailings.

Waste rock is the rock extracted from the pit, which does not contain gold and silver which could be processed cost-effectively.

Waste rock will be stored at the beginning of the project in two stockpiles, i.e. Cetate stockpile (west of the Cetate pit) and Carnic stockpile (south-east of the Carnic pit).

The open pit mining operations have been designed in such a way that the surface occupied by these stockpiles is minimised, thus mitigating their environmental impact. Thus, as soon as the resources from a pit have been exhausted (once the gold and silver have been extracted), the waste rock will be backfilled in that pit, in order to fill up the mining holes. Thus, the Jig pit will be fully backfilled, whereas the Carnic and Orlea pits will be partially backfilled with the waste rock from the operating pits.

Process tailings are the finely ground material resulting from gold and silver extraction from the ore, in the processing plant

Before leaving the processing plant, the tailings go through a detoxification installation, which reduces the cyanide concentration to 3 mg/l, and are then be stored in a tailings management facility in Corna Valley.

The Romanian and EU legislation provides for a maximum cyanide concentration in the tailings management facilities of 10 mg/l.