Earlier this week Romania’s ruling party approved draft legislation on Europe’s would-be largest open-cast gold mine. On Sunday night, thousands of Romanians hit the streets to protest the government’s support.
The most controversial issue surrounding Canadian miner Gabriel Resources’ project is the company’s plan to use cyanide to extract gold and silver. According to one report the mine would use 40 tonnes of cyanide per day.
Gabriel has been waiting for government approval for more than a dozen years and Wednesday’s blessing was a major step forward for the company. The ruling Social Democratic Party pledged its support after negotiating a larger stake in the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation. Gabriel holds 80% of the shares but once construction starts, the state will own 25%.
Parliament is set to vote on the draft bill later this month.
Three-thousand protesters marched in Bucharest toward government headquarters on Sunday, holding banners reading “United for Rosia Montana” and “Our children don’t want cyanide,” Reuters reports. There was also a rally in the city of Cluj.
One protester told Reuters this was “only the beginning.”
In London, anti-mine protesters showed their support by rallying at the doors of the Romanian embassy.
Meanwhile, a separate protest against shale gas exploration drew 2,000 people in the town of Barlad.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s opinions towards the project have been far from clear. Before taking power in May 2012, he said he opposed the mine. This week he voted in favour of draft legislation. Later he told a local television station that he would vote against it in parliament.
As part of negotiations with the ruling party, Gabriel vowed to “ensure environmental protection and eliminate historical pollution” while adding 2,300 jobs during construction phases and 900 for operations. Reuters reports that few of Rosia Montana’s 2,800 residents have refused to sell their property to the company.
The draft bill also requires Gabriel to pay royalty taxes of 6% – 2% more than other mineral resource projects.
But a relatively recent cyanide spill still haunts the memories of many Romanians. In 2000 a cyanide leak from the gold mining company Aurul affected Romania, Serbia and Hungary, killing fish populations and contaminating drinking water. Some have called it Europe’s worst environmental disaster since Chernobyl.
Finally someone of the foreign media take note and write about that issue.
In my country mainstream media impose a blackout a choose not to transmit
almost anything related to those events.
They choose instead to transmit about socalled Gipsy Empereur Iulian, his heart stroke and the different with another socallled King of All gipsies of The Earth.
Do we ever learn lessons from our mistakes?
bet that the canuck team gets the boot, the peasants will be lucky if the comerade team puts them to work for 2 kopecks an hour
There are two good accounts of the polemic surrounding this issue at http://en.rmgc.ro and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roșia_Montană. The real problem is not whether the mine should open- I do not think a poor country like Bulgaria can forego the jobs and wealth it would create – rather whether the government can properly oversee the operation. It seems that the country will get no royalties from the operation and this should be changed.
The society seems to be very polarized on the issue. Today’s news mentions a public opinion poll that indicates about 70% of the population is in favor of the project. And I know for a fact that the majority of the locals want the development.
The news also reported that 150 people were at a demonstration in Bucharest when there were actually thousands, and for the rest both TV and newspapers in the country have suppressed news of yesterdays’ protests. You have to understand that the press have been bought too. Look at the “Save Rosia Montana” Facebook page. I can assure you that the majority of the locals do NOT want the development! This is propaganda. Don’t believe everything you read! RMGC have paid people to say the right things.
70% of the population – you are not a native English speaker, stop saying lies, the Romanian population don’t agree with the project, it’s only bribe and profit for the Gold Corp
Canadian mining companies in Canada have been responsibly and carefully managing mining and metal recovery operations in Canada without such environmental disasters. These people need to be educated. Cyanide is an essential chemical used to recover gold, but it is broken down by sunlight to form the gases Nitrogen and carbon dioxide (both part of our atmosphere). Gabriel Resources may have convinced the Romanian Government, (which is tempted by any scheme which puts money in their coffers), but will the Government ensure that the operator will operate the mine waste management operation in an environmentally responsible way? If Gabriel Resources really want to make this work, they need to be as careful with the environment as they are in Canada. I think the people are right to be concerned, but perhaps the ore could be processed in a safe place.
I like this one especially: “these people need to be educated”. It reflects exactly how corporations look at the “poor Romanian people”. I was at a demonstration against the project. It was full of uneducated people (unlike yourself), such as engineers, doctors, journalists, students, actors, lawyers. We, Romanian people need to be taught a lesson, don’t we?
The mining company has to demonstrate that the residual cyanide is quickly and totally converted to non toxic compounds BEFORE FINAL DISCHARGE ! And that should be fairly easy to do using TRUSTED AND CAPABLE University Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Professors.
Chris, do you have any idea about what are you talking about ?- are you a bribed Gold corporation marketing specialist ??? You ignorant ! Not the gold is the HUGE stake here, but the high concentrated rare metals, which are more expensive such as Germanium, Vanadium, Titanium, etc, etc Get your hands on a book and read more, after that you can pretend you are smart.
All the Romanian TV are fully controlled by the state, the right of free expression is only a mit, all of them refused to broadcast the protests, they are all in the service of the big corporations. Shame for the same liberty of expression, people died in ’89 !
Please allow me to disagree. They are controlled by people with money, just as Romanian politics is today just a servant for who cashes in better. Usually, the dirtiest companies and “business” people do that. It’s not new and it certainly isn’t restricted to Romania.
People will never give in. They stood united for 14 years in spite of massive censorship in the mainstream media, and incentives to betray their land and future generations. The mining company will never get their profits as – they are in for a long battle.
We were 7000 in the streets but the media is not broadcasting anything but gypsies and vulgarity so they can sustain the growing prejudice Europe has about the Romanian people! We have a corrupt government! Why wasn’t this televised? Why do we know more about the Kardashians than we do about Rosia Montana and Fracking. All we hear is lies and propaganda and the worst thing is people are beliving it because they have little alternative sources of information!
Rosia Montana Gold Corporation has already dug up the cemeteries in the area, moved their dead and paid people to agree with it. Also the government, has granted them the right to force people out of their houses and land. This is a serious violation of Human Rights! The few poor people in the are that didn’t gave in to heavy bribing for their land are forced out by this corporation! How can this be allowed? Why hasn’t the EU done anything? We have sued them and took it tp the Europen Court…how long is the money trail?
It’s true, better not have economic development apart from farming and spinning clothing. No electronics, no mining, no car plants, no electricity. All very bad …
Our government has sold most of our contry very cheap, and now all that remains are the natural resources, which will lead into the national POISONING of the entire country! Shale gas exploatation will destroy the agriculture, and Romania is an agricultural country, and cyanide mining will poison our waters! Somebody has to stop these guys before it’s too late!!!
Just because half of the world does not know where Romania is on the map or that this country even exists,it doesn’t mean WE’RE FOR SALE!We closed our eyes on bribes,we closed our eyes on huge taxes,we closed our eyes when our politicians got rich on our backs,WE WONT CLOSE OUR EYES THIS TIME!ENOUGH IT’S ENOUGH!We’re not accepting a law that walks all over our human and citizen rights which we barely got used to (after 50 years of repression) just so foreign corporations and our politicians get more money out of it.Nobody is against mining,everybody is against the way they want to mine!And when politicians want to change our country’s constitution just so they can desecrate the lands of our ancestors,our history,our rights …how can we,why would we just stay and watch?”not the corporation makes the legislation” was what we shouted for hours!AND WE’LL BE DOING IT UNTIL THE WORLD UNDERSTANDS that Romania is not a junkyard for anybody!
People were protesting in 55 cities, against this draft bill, against the use of cyanide, the distruction of 4 mountains with all their cultural heritage (that dates since before Dacian times, Roman, Medieval and the comunist era) and three villages!
28 cities in Romania (Rosia Montana, Bucuresti, Alba Iulia, Timisoara, Iasi, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Galati, Arad, Deva, Constanta, Targu-Mures ,Sibiu, Piatra-Neamt, Bistrita, Baia Mare, Gheorghieni, Sfantu-Gheorghe, Pitesti, Barlad, Satu Mare, Craiova, Dorohoi Oradea, Ploiesti, Baile Herculane, Bacau, Mangalia) and 27 cities all around the world: Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Berlin, London, Rome, Prague, Lisbon, Oslo, Copenhagen, Madrid, Luxembourg, Washington DC, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Budapest, Munich, Bonn, Aarhus (Denmark), Geneva, Warsaw, Helsinki, New York , Chisinau, Fair Isle (Island), Shetland (Scotland), Belgrade!
The final counting is not over but estimates are around 15.000 to 20.000 people or more. The TV stations and most of the written media in Romania are holding a media embargo on this subject by not publishing or showing anything about it on the news!
couple of hundreds, right?
romanian mainstream media sucks cock.
Canadian junior mineral exploration companies are generally underfunded and oftentimes leave a big mess behind at the mining sites they eventually abandon. There are hundreds of examples of mine site in the United States where Canadian junior companies came in and left messes. Sometimes a toxic mess, other times just a blight on the landscape left to erode into the surface water system. Research shows that in the recent past the Canadian junior miners can be careless toward human life at mine sites outside of Canada as the Canadian juniors search for resources in countries with less stringent safety, wage and environmental regulations. So, many times the junior companies run out of money leaving a mess. This company seeking easy profits in Romania missed out on other exploration opportunities in less populated areas around the globe by choosing to focus on exploring in a country where chemical mineral recovery methods are opposed by many Romanian people. Perhaps the company management would have done well to look at other exploration targets around the globe rather than piss off and scare the Romanians. Canadian junior companies don’t need publicity like these street protests right now. Junior funding is already low enough in the industry. This story is just another example of how those in charge of many of the resource exploitation companies are completely out of touch with people’s hopes and fears with regard to mining. Shut the mine down. Write the expenses off. Go somewhere else more remote.
WE ONLY WANT NATURE, NOT GOLD AND NOT CYANIDE!!! IS IT CLEAR FOR ALL?? IT SHOULD BE FOR ALL OUR POLITICIANS AND THE OTHER WHO SUPPORT THE MINNING COMPANY! MOVE YOUR A…OUT OF OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY! WE WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE WITH THE NATURE JUST LIKE OUR ANCESTORS. ROMANIA IS DACIA, NOT ISRAEL OR CANADA, AMERICA ETC!
dear friends… our country is for sale (any company who wants to buy us is welcomed)… please share…. maybe other companies are interested… we are not cheap… apparently this mining company gave 20 mil $ for bribe in 2012… but than again… it”s a good bargain… you buy 4 mountains for that and you win 22 mld $ in just 10 years…
You have to break a few eggs if you want to make an omelet. Just think of all of the new jobs for people.
Do you know something about the archeological heritage of Rosia Montana? A lot of jobs could have be created if this heritage would have been “exploited”. There are good examples in Romania, such as “Salina Turda”. But Rosia Montana was abusively declared as “monoindustrial zone”, so that nobody can apply for funding in tourism.
And this is HUGE corruption…
And the distruction of the ancient Roman galleries is a very important part of this issue, maybe more than cyanide use.
And since you said something about the new jobs for people, how come that nobody tells a number? How many jobs will be created and for how much time? It is easy to come and cry “all those new jobs”, when you don’t tell how many… 10? 100? 1000?
I live in Romania and I don`t support Rosia Montana project. Too bad all people don`t know the truth. Rosia Montana Gold Corporation makes false promises to people and a vast majority of them really believe this crap. SAD, because all this corporation wants is to exploit us like slaves and take our gold from there! That`s what american corporations always do, exploit people and take away all their countries natural resources!
“But a relatively recent cyanide spill still haunts the memories of many
Romanians. In 2000 a cyanide leak from the gold mining company Aurul
affected Romania, Serbia and Hungary, killing fish populations and
contaminating drinking water. Some have called it Europe’s worst environmental disaster since Chernobyl. ”
That is not all from the 2000 cyanide leak. Very important:
— the mining was operated by an Australian company. They have paid 0$ for the damages caused to Romanians and Hungarians.
— Romania has lost in international court and had to pay Hungary tens of millions of dollars. (please google search this, it will come up right away)
— the size of that project is infinitesimal compared with the one proposed at Rosia Montana.
This is indeed the beginning ! Frack Chevron, Frack MOsanto, Frack Gabriel Resources !
Many people in Romania prefer to take money from the EU than to work, very lazy people (not all). So they fear industrial activities like the plague. They think money is growing on trees.
We should close the border to this country, otherwise we have too many of these maggot here in central Europe.