Stripping Rosia Montana: Canadian Company Set To Wipe Out Four Mountain Tops And Ancient Villages In Cyanide Mining Agreement With Romania

220px-Rosia_Montana220px-Alburnus_MaiorThere 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.

28 thoughts on “Stripping Rosia Montana: Canadian Company Set To Wipe Out Four Mountain Tops And Ancient Villages In Cyanide Mining Agreement With Romania

  1. I had not heard of the corn starch method. According to the source article on that “[t]he inexpensive process creates relatively innocuous alkali metal salt as a by-product, and reportedly extracts gold more effectively than existing methods.” Safer and more efficient? Sounds like a no brainer, Hosers.

  2. Cyanide aside, if anyone has ever seen mountaintop removal mining, it shocks the conscience.

    The first time I rounded a curve on a mountain road and saw a vista of craters where mountain tops used to be, I very nearly threw up in my hat. That is not hyperbole, it made me physically ill.

    Google Earth has teamed with Appalachian Voices to bring images of mountaintop removal directly to millions of users of Google Earth. See for yourself at the link below.

  3. As a Canadian, I have always been appalled at Canadian mining and logging firms. Canadians first decimated their own country and now roam the globe decimating others. The practices used are for nothing but profits. There is relatively little difference between mining the way they do that causes such destruction and mining responsibly. The real culprits are the courts in the countries that allow these predators in. Gold and silver will always be mined, the question is how. The only people worse than the scum of Gabriel resources are the Romanians and other nationalities, including Americans that allow these practices.

  4. “Cyanide aside, if anyone has ever seen mountaintop removal mining, it shocks the conscience.”

    Got to agree with that, OS. I thought plain old strip mining was unconscionable until I saw that variation. It’s something that simply shouldn’t be done.

  5. Gene,
    One single mountaintop removal site in West Virgina, run by the Hobet Mining Company, would cover about 75% of the entire island of Manhattan. One has to fly over this area at high altitude on a clear day to comprehend the full scope of damage to the ancient Appalachians.

  6. rafflaw
    1, September 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm
    How did all of that Canadian gold get under those Romanian rocks?? Disgusting.


    Excellent comment!

  7. Well, this is a complete waste for something as useless as gold. Most people buying it are just kobold-like little creatures who sit around fondling it, while making gurgling sounds. And for that they sacrifice some mountains.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  8. I m a Romanian and we really don’t want all that garbage for our country! They can take the gold but just don’t destroy our culture , our land and our history! We don t and won’t sell our country for money! I m terrified but the idea that our politiciens will approve the project! God help us !

  9. Beside the environmental, cultural, social issues of this project the fact that brings many of us in the streets is the way this whole thing is handled and promoted. You see, recently our government has drafted a special law, just for RMGC, to declare their project at Rosia Montana a project of major national interest granting them absurd rights that are anti-Constitutional, that break private property, environmental, patrimony laws. For example, if this law is passed, RMGC would have the right to expropriate anyone they wish in the area. This law would create a very dangerous precedent. I like to consider myself not very naive, I do think that major corporations influence our legislation in ways and with instruments hidden otherwise from the public eyes. And especially here in Romania where we have had many, many shady deals between state and various private companies. But this special law is just so incredibly rude that I think for many of us it was a little bit of an awakening slap. It will be up for voting in the Parliament sometime this month.
    The other thing that bothers me personally is the incredible marketing and PR machine that RMGC has put into place. It’s lacking in any form of subtlety, it stinks of bullshit and it must have cost a lot. And I mean a lot. They have had TV-spots running on all major TV channels in prime time for a very long time, they have advertising contracts with all these channels and with the written press. For example, one of the TV channels organized last night a debate around the subject (I will not talk here about the journalistic ethics that the moderator showed no sign of). In the commercial break the TV channel ran a RMGC ad not once, but twice. During the debate. Ridiculous really.
    On Sunday when the whole country protested, when something truly special happened in Bucharest, where there were thousands of us in the streets (and this number is impressive for an otherwise non-participative nation), one single minor TV channel covered the thing. One. The others were preoccupied with the fact that the president’s daughter gave birth. So, tour trust in the mainstream press is zero. We inform ourselves and spread news, photos and videos online.
    Shortly, this is the picture right now. I just wanted to tell you about all these aspects that I consider to be important. People continue to protest peacefully in Bucharest each night and there is a major national protest planned for Sunday. Keep an eye on us. An international coverage is very important for this whole situation, and since the mainstream press is either silent or mocking us, the information won’t spread so easily. But we’re here and we’re fighting. Thank you for writing about us.

  10. Corporations have only one goal and that is more profits… any cost. Damn the environment, damn the planet and damn life itself. Profit is #1 and there is no #2.

  11. mada lina, Anna F. and ambra blu, I wish you well in your struggle. We have this method of mineral extraction in America and it is abominable. Once it gets started I don’t know if it can be stopped. It’s wise to start with gold, something that psychologically valuable breaks down the initial revulsion to such a method. The time to fight it is now. Good luck.

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