Thousands of Romanians protest Canadian mine plans

September 29, 2013
A man waves a flag during a rally in Bucharest against the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation on September 29, 2013.

Thousands of people marched Sunday against a Canadian company's plans to open Europe's largest gold mine at Rosia Montana, in what has become one of the longest-running protests in post-communist Romania.

The movement started a month ago after the Romanian government adopted a draft law clearing the way for a controversial open-cast planned by Canada's Gabriel Resources in the heart of Transylvania.

The company, which owns 80 percent of the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, acquired a mining licence in 1999 but has been waiting ever since for a crucial permit from the environment ministry.

In Bucharest, around 4,000 people marched despite the rain chanting, "United we can save Rosia Montana" and carrying Romanian flags.

"I am here in defence of the environment and the of Rosia Montana but also because I am sick and tired of the way politicians treat us," said one of the protesters, Otilia Dumitrescu, a 62-year-old retired architect.

Gabriel Resources hopes to extract 300 tonnes of gold with mining techniques requiring the use of thousands of tonnes of cyanide.

It promises 900 jobs during the 16-year extraction period, as well as .

But academics and environmentalists say the mine is an ecological time bomb and threatens the area's Roman mining galleries.

This photo taken on September 20, 2011 shows a general view of Rosia Montana village.

The protesters also chanted slogans against plans by US energy giant Chevron to dig for in eastern Romania using the controversial "fracking" technique that threatens to contaminate .

"We will continue to stage protests because we want to save Romania," said an Orthodox priest, Iulian Ghimus, 53.

Some 2,000 protesters also rallied in Cluj, chanting "Rosia Montana is the heart of Romania."

"Even if turnout is lower because of fatigue and , the people's message is clear: they will keep on protesting until the Rosia Montana project is withdrawn and a law banning environmentally harmful mining projects is adopted," sociologist Mircea Kivu told AFP.

Kivu added that protesters have also signalled that "they want a change in the way Romanian politics is conducted" after more than 20 years of corruption and scandals related to cronyism.

Explore further: Romania to review moratorium on shale gas

Related Stories

Romania to review moratorium on shale gas

June 22, 2012

Romania will review its stand on shale gas when a drilling moratorium expires in December and align itself with a future joint EU position on the controversial issue, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Friday.

Romania gov't will SMS travelers to warn of risks

October 29, 2012

(AP)—In Romania, where many people travel overseas in search of work, the government has launched a text message service to advise citizens about nations that it considers too dangerous to visit.

Chile president gives nod to huge gold mine

May 30, 2013

Chile's visiting president said Thursday that Canadian firm Barrick Gold can resume operations at its massive gold mine in Chile as long as environmental rules are followed.

Balkans gold rush prompts pollution fears

September 24, 2013

Plans by mining companies to dig for gold in Romania and Greece have triggered massive opposition, with academics and environmentalists stressing that risks far outweigh benefits for the Balkan nations.

EU water law could sink mine plan in Romania: minister

September 25, 2013

The fate of a Canadian gold mine project in the heart of Transylvania that has sparked public anger and massive protests hangs on a river protected by European law, Romanian Environment Minister Rovana Plumb said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

'Carbon sink' detected underneath world's deserts

July 28, 2015

The world's deserts may be storing some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide emitted by human activities, a new study suggests. Massive aquifers underneath deserts could hold more carbon than all the plants on land, according ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.