I have been trying to unravel the problems in Romania concerning the Rosia Montana Gold project, which if developed would be one of the largest mining projects in Europe, and will destroy four mountains and leave environmental problems for years to come because of the proposed extraction method with cyanide.
The project has developed over the last fifteen years when Gabriel Resources were granted a license to carry out a survey in the area to see if there was sufficient exploitable gold in the area. The surveys were carried out and sufficient levels of gold were discovered.
The proposed developer then applied for permission to exploit the deposits and applied for all permits and studies as required by the law. There were discussions with various governments of all political persuasions over the period to try and move the project forward and for the exploitation to commence. Then like topsy the project grew until it became a major issue both for previous governments, the current government and the people of Romania. The final conclusion reached by the current Government was that that the Romanian state was to take a percentage in the exploitation company, but the implementation of the project was to be carried out by the company. Certain powers were to be granted to the company which are normally the prerogative of the state and not private companies. This would mean that the acts which were being carried out if carried out by the Government would be subject to scrutiny under the constitution but if carried out by a private company would in effect be outside the law.
The project would require the destruction of four mountains and the moving of whole communities, all of this to be in the discretion of the exploitation company, in which the people of Romania would have an interest through the shareholding. All the work would be done by the company and the removal of the people would be at the discretion of the company. It is also alleged that after 15 years all the gold would have been extracted and the mine would close.
This matter has split Romania. The Government to try and bring matters to a head introduced into Parliament a law authorising the project but said it would be Parliament who would vote the law and decide if the project should go forward. They would not dictate that their members had to vote in a certain way.
There have been street protests in Bucharest and other major cities in Romania objecting to the law and the project. Now the leaders of the coalition in Government have said that their parties do not approve and that the project is effectively dead but not buried.
No final decision has yet been made by the Parliament but it looks increasingly likely that the law will fail to be passed and that the whole Rosia Montana project in its current form will die. Let us see what happens.