January, 2000

This is a repeating event

200030JanAll DayBaia Mare Dam Release 2000Aurul Baia Mare Sasar River (RO)Industry:MiningCountry:RomaniaLanguage:ENLoC:Natural event Origin: ARIA Incident:Fluid release to waterHazards:ToxicImpact:ENVIRONMENTAL (Offsite)Effects:EnvironmentalMaterial:Cyanide


The 2000 Baia Mare cyanide spill was a leak of cyanide near Baia Mare, Romania, into the Some? River by the gold mining company Aurul, a joint-venture of the Australian company Esmeralda Exploration and the Romanian government.

The polluted waters eventually reached the Tisza River and then the Danube, killing large numbers of fish in Hungary, Serbia, and Romania. The spill has been called the worst environmental disaster in Europe since the Chernobyl disaster.

On the night of January 30, 2000, a dam holding contaminated waters burst and 100,000 cubic metres (3,500,000 cu ft) of cyanide-contaminated water (containing an estimated 100 metric tonnes of cyanide) spilled over some farmland and then into the Someș river.

Esmeralda Exploration blamed excessive snowfall for the dam failure.

Image Credit: ARIA


ARIABureau for Analysis of Industrial Risks and Pollutions