In an open letter to Prince Charles, Huffington Post journalist Rupert Wolfe-Murray requests royal support to prevent new mining in the Rosia Montana region of Transylvania, Romania.
In the letter, Wolfe-Murray surveys the project’s environmental risks, and appeals to Charles’ appreciation of Transylvania’s ecosystem, using a 1998 quote from the prince in which he claimed to be “totally overwhelmed by its unique beauty and its extraordinarily rich heritage.”
Until last week, when thousands of Romanians took to the streets and to social media in protest, Canadian company Gabriel Resources had been on track to mine for gold and silver in Rosia Montana. The swell of opposition grew out of claims that three of the region’s sixteen villages would be destroyed and that use of cyanide in the extraction would endanger locals.
The Romanian Prime Minister responded to the protests by proposing a referendum on the mine. No public vote has been exercised but the prospect of the government pulling the plug has prompted Gabriel Resources to threaten billions of dollars in lawsuits.
A resident of Bucharest, Wolfe-Murray has done some admirable humanitarian work, but this letter smacks of opportunistic grandstanding; his choice of hero is dubious. What specific tasks does he wish to delegate to the prince, simultaneous ‘promoter of environmental awareness’ and chief business liaison to the Arabian Gulf petro-monarchies?