Hungary has aggressively been pushing a ban on cyanide mining technology throughout Europe, which it says can have severe environmental and health affects.

Cyanide is a toxic chemical compound deployed to separate ore from gold and silver.

Hungary’s plea for a European ban comes almost a decade after Romania experienced a breakdown in the tailing dam at a gold processing unit, which led to the release of large quantities of cyanide into the River Tisza and Hungary.

The mishap caused the death of more than 1,400 fish and destroyed the livelihoods of a large number of fishermen.

In December 2009 Hungary imposed a ban on all cyanide-based metal processing, making it the first EU member state to implement such a law.

Hungary implemented the ban at a time when gold mining proposals started growing in the country and in other central and eastern European countries – 90% of these proposals were to use large amounts of cyanide.

Hungary said its EU presidency in the first half of 2011 will help the country promote environmental issues such as these, especially if water becomes a central focus during the presidency.