16 May 2010

Cyanide ban in gold processing wanted by lobby group

5:54 am on 16 May 2010

An environmental group wants the mining industry in New Zealand to observe a call by the European Parliament to ban cyanide use in gold processing.

Cyanide is used to extract gold from ore, but last week the European Parliament passed a resolution proposing a ban on using it in Europe by 2011.

The Environment & Conservation Organisation says cyanide is poisonous to humans and nature if not handled properly.

However, the international cyanide management code developed by mining groups and the United Nations says alternatives are less effective, more expensive and still risky.

The Mineral Industry Association says cyanide use in New Zealand is safe and controlled.