There are large protests in Romania against a plan to turn over a historic area to a Canadian company which will destroy four mountains tops, ancient Romanian sites, and use cyanide to extract gold and silver. It is a plan to devastate the environment, but the Canadians have promised local and national politicians a cut of the open-cast mine in the Rosia Montana.
The target of the project is 314 tons of gold and 1,500 tons of silver and is valued at $7.5-billion (U.S.). Romania will received about 75 per cent of the benefits in taxes, royalties, dividends and jobs. Thousands marched in Bucharest against the plan.
Four mountain tops and three villages will be destroyed.
While environmentalists and historians are horrified by the plan, Gabriel Resources CEO Jonathan Henry said the government’s move “represents a significant milestone for all stakeholders”.
The area is the site of ancient gold mining going back to the 11th Century. However, what is about to occur leaves many disgusted:
. To dig out the last treasures of Rosia Montana, the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) would have to bury dead the ancient town of Rosia Montana itself. The proposal calls for four enormous open pits—hugely expanding the two existing ones and opening two more—which would generate 200 million tons of waste rock and would effectively wreck the spectacular landscape and overlay the village. The nearby Corna Valley will be turned into a tailings dam holding up to 250 million tons of cyanide-laced waste from gold leaching. In order to initiate and commence with the project, RMGC is required to buy out all private and public properties in the area, including churches and cemeteries, some of which it plans to demolish. The historic center has been slated for preservation, but it will remain a souvenir in the middle of a sea of rubble: a beautiful mummy.
While corn starch has been found to be a replacement for cyanide in such mining operations, the Canadian company is sticking with the old approach it seems. Even with an alternative material, the clearing of the mountain tops would likely remain the same.