Hard facts

spain will require more than us $100 million to clean up the toxic sludge that burst from a mine reservoir and flooded rivers and farms in the southern part of the country, informed officials. Thousands of workers are busy hauling away tonnes of sludge containing zinc, lead, iron, cadmium and other heavy metals spread by the spill.

The government plans to accelerate the cleaning up process before rains could scatter the contamination even further. In this regard, the environment ministry has released nearly us $30 million. Officials say that the final bill will have to be paid by the Toronto-based Boliden Limited, which owns the reservoir. The company will reimburse farmers for their losses, say the company officials.

Environmentalists and geologists have criticised government officials for ignoring the fault in the reservoir's structure that was detected several years ago. Luckily, no casualty was reported in the accident. Workers have collected more than 30 tonnes of dead fish and numbers of dead birds and small mammals. Biologists are now trying to assess the damage to the nearby areas of the Europe's most important wildlife reserve, Donana.

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