BRUSSELS, Jan. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The European Union (EU)'s lawmakers approved new environmental rules on Wednesday which impose higher standards on the licensing, operation and after-care of mining waste.
Under the new rules, mining companies will have to provide economic guarantees that they can restore sites after their mining activities have ended, the European Parliament said in a press release.
National governments of the EU will be obliged to identify all their closed and abandoned mining sites and to quantify any health or environmental dangers they may pose.
"This new legislation will reduce the risk of leaks from mines, both from those in use today and from old closed-down sites," said the parliament's rapporteur Jonas Sjostedt from Sweden.
"Dangerous tailings dams with high concentrations of cyanide, such as in the accident in Baia Mare in Romania, will no longer be allowed," he said.
Wednesday's rules are an amended compromise reached between the parliament and EU ministers in December.
Around 400 million tons of mining waste are produced each year, accounting for 30 percent of the EU's total waste.
The new rules were drafted in the wake of the accident in 2000 at Baia Mare in Romania, where quantities of waste water spilled into a river, taking with them 120 tons of cyanide. The pollution spread as far as Hungary and into the Danube river. Enditem