The case concerned an environmental accident occurring at the site in January 2000. A United Nations study reported that a dam had breached, releasing about 100,000 m3 of cyanide-contaminated tailings water into the environment. The report stated that the company operating the gold mine had not halted its operations. The applicants complained under article 2 of the Convention (right to life) that the activities carried out by the company put their lives in danger, and that the authorities had failed to take any action. The Court observed that where pollution or noise interfered with a persons well-being, a claim could be brought under article 8 (right to respect for private and family life)and that the existence of a serious and material risk for the applicants health and well-being entailed a duty on the part of the State to assess the risks, both at the time it granted the operating permit and subsequent to the accident, and to take the appropriate measures.
The European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a violation of the right to respect for private and family life on account of the Romanian authorities failure to protect the applicants who lived in the vicinity of the Baia Mare Aurul gold mine.