Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Residents protest cyanide leaching near Upper, Lower Tavolgi

Last weekend, a group of 300 protesters gathered at the construction site of a chemical plant to protest the amount of cyanide being introduced to the water supply of Upper and Lower Tavolgi by gold mining operations.

Ecological experts have blamed the plant's newly-opened leach site for tainting the area's water supply. Initial plans called for the leach site to sit 1,600 feet away from the village of Byngi. However, community organizers successfully petitioned the local government to have the site moved to 1.25 miles away from the village's boundary, Oblastnaya Gazeta reports.

Activists, however, have continued to rally against the amount of cyanide the industrial facility is pumping into the village's water supply in its process to leach gold from the ground.

"We are categorically against [this] plant," Upper Tavolgi resident Sergei Sakunenko said, according to Oblastnaya Gazeta. "Will be infected all water sources."

Area resident Vladimir Afanasevich said two workers became unconscious after inhaling cyanide vapors when locksmiths disabled ventilation at the site. The men were taken to a Sverdlovsk regional hospital where they made full recoveries.

Sergey Karasev, a spokesperson from the gold leach site, assured area citizens that work done at the plant will not contaminate the village's water supply with cyanide.

"Cyanide should not be afraid," Karasev said, according to Oblastnaya Gazeta. "Of course, there are other gold mining technology, using chlorine or sulfuric acid. But the chlorine used to, and the word 'cyanide' scares people. Meanwhile, the chemical reaction will occur in closed vats, and after four hours, these substances are no longer able to harm humans. We want a professional conversation, and we just do not give a comment."

The Tavolgi Nevyanstev area's water was badly contaminated in the 1980s by the nearby Nevansky mechanical plant, which had increased production during the Cold War.