The Rosia Montana gold mine will seemingly not be put into operation in the near future. According to the “Deutsche Welle”, the Rosia Montana Cultural landscape has been added to the tentative list of Romania’s UNESCO world heritage sites.1. This action is the first step towards including this site in the World Heritage register, which would grant international protection and support to the area. Despite the still pending approval status, protesters see the government’s decision as a major victory against the mine’s operator.
Since 2000, Canadian company Gabriel Resources has tried to beginoperations in Europe’s largest gold mine (see Facing Finance,10.06.2014). However, they hadn’t counted on the significant protests by civil society, who took to the streets to firmly protest the developments in the region. Residents are proud of the fact that since the 1989 revolution there hasn’t been any other occasion where such a significant number of people were mobilized for an issue.
Activists are from a broad range of organisations and backgrounds, including local families, students, retirees and environmental activists from further afield. Using social media, the activists drew attention to the impact that gold mining would have on their everyday lives and the whole region. This includes significant environmental damage, especially through the usage of cyanide and the practice of mountaintop removal, which would have affected four surrounding peaks. The mine is also considered to be a historical site which would be destroyed by the mining activities. In addition, 2000 villagers would have to be resettled by Gabriel Resources.
The extraction of gold is associated with massive environmental damage all over the world, to no small extent also in Romania. In 2000, close to the city of Baia Mare, huge amounts of cyanide spilled into two nearby rivers, resulting in irreversible environmental destruction. Yet another reason supporting the decade-long protests of the Romanian civil society.
The final decision over the status of Rosia Montana will be made in 2018. Gabriel Resources itself has not yet given up on the controversial project – despite everything, it is still listed as “fully scoped and currently in the permitting phase” on their website2 .
Gabriel Resources holds 80,69% of Rosia Montana Gold Corporation SA
Share holders of Gabriel Resources according to Morningstar
- http://www.dw.com/en/romanian-civil-society-wins-key-victory-against-proposed-gold-mine/a-19053298, Deutsche Welle 17.02.2016, accessed on 25.02.2016 [↩]
- Gabriel Resources http://www.gabrielresources.com/site/rosiamontana.aspx, accessed on 25.02.2016 [↩]