A cyanide spill from a Romanian gold smelter hit Serbia yesterday, after traveling downriver through Hungary for 10 days, devastating fish stocks and threatening the water supplies of 2.5 million people. The Serbian government is warning citizens not to use water from the Tisza River for any purpose and not to catch the river’s fish. Romania acknowledges that a spill occurred on January 31 and that cyanide levels 700 times above normal have been recorded in the river. A Romanian government minister has accused a local gold smelter, which is half owned by an Australian gold mining firm and half by the Romanian government, of ignoring repeated warnings from environmental officials that the smelter needed to shore up its safety systems. The smelter has been closed pending investigation.
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