#Romania out of #EU !! Roșia Montană in Romania is Europe's largest gold mine... and means a lot of gold, a lot of money and a lot of cyanide.
And while Romania's populace is occupied blaming and killing strays because of the tragic death of little Ionut - who was perhaps not even killed by strays - their Government is moving forward with their plans to give the go-ahead for the construction of Europe's biggest gold mine and to sign away Romania's most valuable natural asset!
Roșia Montană is a commune of Alba County in the Apuseni Mountains of western Transylvania, Romania. The rich mineral resources of the area have been exploited since Roman times or before. The state-run gold mine closed in late 2006 in advance of Romania's accession to the EU. Gabriel Resources of Canada plan to open a new mine. This has caused controversy on one hand over the extent to which remains of Roman mining would be preserved and over fears of a repeat of the cyanide pollution at Baia Mare and on the other, over the benefits that mining would bring to this poor and underdeveloped part of the country.
The campaign against mining at Roșia Montană was one of the largest campaigns over a non-political cause in the last 20 years in Romania. A plethora of organizations spoke out against the project, from Greenpeace to the Romanian Academy, while groups representing the local community expressed support for the project. In late 2009, the Romanian government announced it made the project a priority, recognising the economic benefits of the mining operation, but it continues to review the environmental impact assessment initially filed in 2004.
A majority of Romanians remain opposed to the prospect of mining gold with cyanide. They arguably have reason for concern. A cyanide accident in the year 2000 in the northern Romanian city of Baia Mare occurred after days of rainfall led a reservoir to burst. In the aftermath, 100,000 tons of mud containing cyanide and heavy metals flowed into the Tisza and Danube rivers, resulting in one of the most serious environmental catastrophes in European history since the Chernobyl disaster.
After the spill, the Someș had cyanide concentrations of over 700 times the permitted levels. The Someș flows into the Tisza, Hungary's second largest river, which then flows into the Danube. The spill contaminated the drinking supplies of over 2.5 million Hungarians. In addition to cyanide, heavy metals were also washed into the river and they have a long-lasting negative impact on the environment.
Wildlife was particularly affected on the Tisza: on a stretch, virtually all living things were killed, and further south, in the Serbian section, 80% of the aquatic life was killed.
Large quantities of fish died due to the toxicity of cyanide in the waters of the rivers, affecting 62 species of fish, of which 20 are protected species. In Hungary, volunteers participated in removing the dead fish to prevent the disaster from spreading across the food chain, as other animals, such as foxes, otters and ospreys have died after eating contaminated fish.
After the cyanide entered the Danube, the large volume of the river's water diluted the cyanide, but in some sections it still remained as high as 20 to 50 times the allowed concentration.
Five weeks later, a spill of contaminated waters (this time with heavy metals) hit the region. A dyke burst in Baia Borş, Maramureş County and 20,000 cubic metres of zinc, lead and copper-contaminated water made its way into the Tisza.
A year later, another cyanide spill occurred in Romania, this time being a deliberate emptying of cyanide solutions into the Siret River.
Hungary fears that such a scenario could repeat itself, and its government has repeatedly issued protest against the Rosia Montana project. On Monday (02.09.2013), Budapest again called on the Romanian government to stop the project.
"Gold mining with the use of cyanide technology involves serious environmental risks, endangers groundwater and bodies of water as well as biodiversity, as the citizens of Romania and Hungary experienced first-hand during the Baia Mare catastrophe," Hungary's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on the matter.
For the mining to go forward, the valley surrounding the village of Rosia Montana must be cleared completely to create room for the enormous reservoirs intended to store waste water and mud that contain cyanide and heavy metals. Environmental activists fear that the groundwater could be contaminated along the way, though. Furthermore, they warn that constant explosions in the area could lead the reservoir walls to collapse.
"This project is a huge environmental mess," said Eugen David, a farmer from Rosia Montana and head of the NGO Alburnus Maior, which opposes the mining plans.
Ex-culture minister and Democratic Liberal Theodor Paleologu agrees, saying, "The project is technically dubious, the law behind it is against the constitution because it ignores property laws as well as the interests of the Romanian state, and it has corrupted many politicians."
It is, indeed, true that many Romanian politicians in recent years have done a surprising turnaround on the project, including head of state Victor Ponta, who, while a member of the opposition, was a vocal critic of the plans.
Rosia Montana Gold Corporation denies having bribed any politicians....
After the project had been on halt for the past 14 years because of vicious opposition from anti-mining activists and the successive Romanian governments being reluctant to give the go-ahead amid such heated environment, the Romanian government approved a draft law last week that sets out a course for development of the mine, and which now needs to be approved by parliament which is set to vote on the project later this month.
Current Prime Minister Victor Ponta (who is married to Dacaina Sarbu, Vice-President of the European Parliament's Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals) won a convincing victory in last year’s election, and has majority control over parliament which has allowed him to be far more aggressive than his predecessors in approving large capital projects that can boost the economy. One of his priorities is Rosia Montana.
“What gives us the comfort this is real and the process will happen is that we are in the early term of a new parliament that has a significant majority of the population behind them,” Gabriel chief executive Jonathan Henry said in an interview. “And therefore, they can actually get things done.”
If the project is ultimately approved, the years of delays will have been well worth it for Gabriel. Rosia Montana has more than 17 million ounces of gold resources, including 10.1 million ounces of reserves. Gabriel would hold 75% of the mine, according to the draft law, with the state holding the balance. It is the largest gold resource on the continent.
Gabriel has already poured an estimated US$550-million into Rosia Montana, according to BMO analyst John Hayes. “The introduction of the law demonstrates that the government is engaged on the project,” he wrote in a note.
Read it all and see documentaries, at: http://www.occupyforanimals.org/romania--ro537ia-montan259-europes-largest-gold-mine-a-lot-of-gold-a-lot-of-money-and-a-lot-of-cyanide.html