Cyanide Spill Flows
Into Danube In Yugoslavia

STARI SLANKAMEN, Yugoslavia (AFP) - Cyanide-laced water pumped from a Romanian mine flowed into the Danube Sunday after passing through Hungary into Yugoslavia, where a minister said two tonnes of dead fish had already been collected.
The pollution entered the Danube near Stari Slankamen, 50 kilometresmiles) from Belgrade at midday (1100 GMT), according to local fishermen, after flowing down the Tisa River from Hungary.
Serbia's environment minister, Branislav Blazic, said that around two tonnes of dead fish had been taken from the Tisa since the cyanide entered Yugoslav waters on Friday, the state news agency Tanjug reported.
No new figures on cyanide levels were released Sunday morning by the Serbian ministry of agriculture, water and forestry, but samples taken the day before had indicated that levels were falling in the Tisa.
The ministry said 0.13 milligrammes of cyanide had been measured per litre of water in the Tisa early Saturday, but it had fallen to 0.07 milligrammes two hours later.
Blazic said that Romania should be brought before the International Court of Justice in the Hague and forced to pay damages for the cyanide spill, which began at an Australian-owned mine on its territory.
In what Hungary has branded Europe's worst ecological accident since the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, an estimated 100,000 cubic metres (3.5 million cubic feet) of cyanide -- used to separate gold from ore -- were released from the Aurul gold mine in northern Romania on February 1 after a reservoir wall collapsed.
The cyanide first entered the Somes river in Romania, before passing into Hungary's Tisza river (the Magyar version of Tisa), where the poison reached a density of 800 times its accepted maximum level.
Hungarian foreign ministry spokesman Gabor Horvath reported last week that the cyanide had devastated the water's fish stocks, leaving a "five-kilometre (three-mile) long carpet of dead fish floating along the river."
The mine's owners and Romanian officials, however, have downplayed the effects of the leak, accusing Hungary of gross exaggeration.
The Yugoslav government has banned the use of the Tisa's waters, and temporarily outlawed fishing on the river and on a portion of the Danube. Downstream of the spill the Danube flows through Belgrade, runs along the Bulgarian and Romanian border then empties into the Black Sea.


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