Rosia Montana/Romania; 15. March 2006 – Approximately 700 representatives of 240 Hungarian environmental organisations yesterday sent an open letter to Romania’s minister for the Environment in protest against the Rosia Montana gold mine proposal. This comes at a time when members of the European Parliament are reiterating their concerns regarding the development of the controversial gold mine proposal.
Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU) is a small, under-resourced and inexperienced Canadian mining company which plans to uproot the people of Rosia Montana to realize Europe’s largest open-cast gold mine. From the outset the venture has been beleaguered by scandals, operational problems and vehement local, national and international opposition. Gabriel Resources intends to submit the Environmental Impact Assessment report in late March 2006. Under the provisions of the Espoo Convention on transboundary impact assessment Hungary is part of the evaluation and consultation procedure.
The National Annual Meeting of Hungary’s environmental organisations, held at Veszprem from 9-12 March 2006, represents the most important gathering of Hungary’s Green Movement. This year’s event saw the gathering of 700 representatives of 240 Hungarian environmental organisations.
During the event’s plenary session the participants formulated and endorsed an open letter to Sulfina Barbu, Romania’s minister for the Environment. According to the appeal: “Bearing in mind the (Baia Mare) ecological disaster of 2000 as well as the numerous accidents that have occurred since then, we follow with great concern the preparations for opening the gold mine at Rosia Montana. We declare ourselves against the development of Rosia Montana Gold Corporation’s open cast gold mine. It represents a potential source of pollution for Hungary and would cause significant ecological damages for Romania. These can never be counterbalanced by economic benefits. Based on the precautionary principle, the strong local, national and international protests (the latest of which is the renewed protest sent by the Romanian Academy) show that the development of the Rosia Montana gold mine would not serve Romania’s interests. […] A mine may bring economic benefits, but the natural resources destroyed in the process can not be replaced by gold.”
The NGO’s concerns were reiterated yesterday during the opening of the European Parliaments’ Plenary Session in Strasbourg. Hegyi Gyula, a Hungarian member of the European Parliament (MEP) requested the assembly to stop the opening of the Rosia Montana gold mine; to say a definitive “no” to such dangers and to ask the Romanian government to honour its obligation towards the EU.
According to an interview with Joost Langendjik, a Dutch MEP, by Radio France International (RFI): “The Rosia Montana case is not only about environmental damages, but also about social and cultural ones. I believe that the project should be judged as a whole. As a consequence we will support the Romanian Academy’s position which on many occasions declared that the project’s impact is so big that it should be stopped. …Although it seems that public opinion is unhappy with the project, many governments have been pushing for the mine. As such the EIA study should be rigorous and we hope that the position of the Romanian Academy will play an important role.”
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For more information contact ‘Alburnus Maior’ on +40 (0) 740 342104 or via email at alburnusmaior[at]ngo.ro Visit www.rosiamontana.org to access the original Hungarian declaration and relevant images.