19/05/2014 22:40

Continuing protests of local people against a proposed plan to mine and process uranium in the Jahodná-Kurišková recreational area in the closest neighbourhoods of the city of Košice have recently led to two initiatives aiming at banning uranium mining at the national level.

On 25 April 2014, Ivan Štefanec and Viliam Novotný, opposition MPs representing the SDKU-DS (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union) party, delivered to the National Council of the Slovak Republic (the Slovak national parliament) their proposal for a law that would establish an absolute ban of mining radioactive minerals in Slovakia. The proposed law admits only one exception: if uranium mining gets an approval from local people in a referendum. The National Council should discuss about the proposal at its currently ongoing meeting that started the previous week and shall resume on Tuesday 27 May 2014. More info about this law proposal in Slovak language: , and in English language: .

Unrelated to the above opposition proposal, on 16 May 2014 the minister of environment Peter Žiga in co-operation with the mayor of Košice Richard Raši (both members of SMER-SD, the currently ruling party in Slovakia) have announced their own initiative. According to the words of P. Žiga, they want to impose a general uranium mining ban in the whole territory of the Slovak republic by a law. Similarly as the law proposed by the opposition MPs, according to the proposal of the ministry of environment, the only exception to the ban shall be the case when in referendums that shall become compulsory in all the affected communities the majority of local inhabitants would explicitly declare that they do want uranium mining to take place near their homes. Mayor of Košice R. Raši said that even if a single one of the affected communities doesn't say a "yes" to uranium mining, according to the law it will be sufficient to stop any uranium mining plan, adding that he personally believes that all the people of Košice and all the affected communities would say a resolute "no" to uranium mining in the city, shall any company attempt it. More info about this initiative in Slovak language: ,

Even though this is not the first time when a country-wide uranium mining ban is going to be discussed in Slovak parliament (a similar law has already been proposed by opposition MPs in 2009 but it didn't get enough votes), the situation is unique as now both the government and the opposition seem to be willing to approve the law. Besides, the citizens of Slovakia will now watch the voting in parliament more closely than in 2009.

All the above shall give a clear message to the Australian company Forte Energy NL (that announced their intention to buy the exploration rights for Slovak uranium deposits Kurišková and Novoveská Huta from Canadian-based European Uranium Resources) that their uranium-related activities are not welcome in Slovakia and that they should rather look for profit somewhere else.