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Uranium mine reopening in Pecs, Hungary


Description:

The Tformer Mecsek underground uranium mine operated from 1956 to 1997, when it was closed due to being uneconomical and was remediated at considerable expense (about $170 million). In 2006, an Australian company, WildHorse Energy joined with state-owned Mecsekérc to assess the feasibility of restarting uranium mining in the Mecsek Hills near Pecs in southern Hungary adjacent to the former mine. Inferred resources are of about 11,600 tonnes of uranium (tU). The high prices of uranium is one of the reasons driving the proposed re-start of operations. The government has said it wants to involve local governments and local citizens in a decision on the issue. The local Nemecz movement opposes the reopening of the mine.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Uranium mine reopening in Pecs, Hungary
Country:Hungary
State or province:Baranya
Location of conflict:Pecs and its surroundings
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Uranium extraction
Specific commodities:Uranium

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The joint venture would give Wildhorse extraction rights for 38.5 tonnes of Uranium and its state-owned partner rights for ten tonnes.

Project area:448650
Level of Investment:--
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:400000
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:Wildhorse Energy Ltd. from Australia
Wildhorse Energy Hungary Termel s Szolgltat Kft. from Hungary
Mecsekrc Zrt. from Hungary
Mecsek-ko Zrt. from Hungary
Relevant government actors:Hungarian government, local self-government of Pecs, Regional Environmental and Water Authority of the Southern Transdanubia Region
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Nemecsek Mozgalom (Nemecsek movement)(http://nemecsekmozgalom.wordpress.com/), Greenpeace, Hungary

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local residents of Pécs and of the surrounding settlements.
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
International Action day - 'Fight against the Uranium Industry' held in several countries (Germany, France, the Netherlands on 09. 29. 2012)

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place

Outcome

Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:It is an ongoing conflict so we cannot be sure about the outcome yet.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

/2/2006. decision of the mine authority of Pécs – this decision allowed Wildhorse Energy Ltd. to start its uranium research activities in one area (lying north and northeast from the so-called Jakab Mountain) within the Mecsek Mountain

/2012 (IV.26) Government Decision on the restarting of uranium mining gin the Mecsek mountain

/3/2006. decision of the mine authority of Pécs – this decision allowed Wildhorse Energy Ltd. to start its uranium research activities in one area (lying east from the so-called Jakab Mountain) within the Mecsek Mountain

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

http://nemecsekmozgalom.wordpress.com/

www.wildhorse.com.au/en/mecsek-hills-uranium-project

www.kvvm.hu/szakmai/karmentes/kiadvanyok/karmfuzet9/karmfuz9-8.htm

Meta information

Contributor:Gyorgy Malovics
Last update08/04/2014