ROSIA MONTANA: No mining project in Rosia Montana

Neueste Presseinformation von Alburnus Maior in englischer Sprache: Rosia Montana, Romania; 12. June 2004 – Speranta Ianculescu, the Romanian minister for the Environment and Miklos Persanyi, her Hungarian counterpart yesterday visited Rosia Montana. The scope of their visit was to find out whether there exists a gold mining project proposed by Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC). In particular, the delegation wished to find out more details about the operation’s current development stage. rnrnRosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) which is 80% owned by Canadian-based Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU) intends to realize Europe’s largest open cast gold mining project in Rosia Montana; entailing amongst other, the involuntary resettlement of over 2000 people. From its onset the development has been beleaguered with scandals and operational problems, including local, national and international opposition by both civil society and expert institutions.rnrnThe official delegation arrived in Rosia Montana yesterday at 11 am. According to the official program the visit should have started with a project presentation by RMGC. However, the delegation instead made its way to visit the current exploitation by Minvest, the state-owned mining company. Thereafter they visited Rosia Montana’s mining museum and Roman mine galleries situated in the so-called Orlea Massif. Exiting the museum both ministers made statements to the press. “I don’t know anything about a plan for a future exploitation”, said minister Ianculescu. “I expect RMGC to put forward a feasibility study. Only after two to three years of analysis I would be able to pronounce myself about the quality of the project,” she said. “Given the Baia Mare accident in 2000 we are worried about the possibility of water contamination with cyanide. The Hungarian government would be glad not to see this investment go ahead; because this is how all risks would be completely eliminated,” said minister Persanyi. “However, should this development be realized we would offer assistance from our experts in elaborating a study on environmental protection,” he concluded.rnrnLater in the afternoon the delegation proceeded to Alba Iulia, the regional capital. At 18.00 both ministers agreed to meet further members of the press. After reiterating some of their earlier statements, minister Ianculescu again highlighted that there exists no project put forward by RMGC. She was then asked by a Canadian journalist how Gabriel Resources’ shareholders would react to such news when meeting in Toronto for the company’s AGM in four days time. The question remained unanswered. A Hungarian correspondent of ‘IndyMedia’ then asked minister Ianculescu about the controversial and ongoing resettlement and relocation of Rosia Montana’s population. A member of the Romanian delegation replied; saying that this is a separate issue and nothing else than some sort of real estate development. The Hungarian correspondent countered that he never heard that for such kind of development one would need a mining company as well as the area to be turned into an industrial zone and finally asked whether the mining project could go ahead if the so-called ‘real estate development’ failed. His question remained unanswered.rnrnWhen asked about his impressions of Rosia Montana, minister Persanyi replied with the following anecdote: “As I visited Rosia Montana I kept on thinking how beautiful this place is. It looks like Switzerland; however here the houses look quite poor. Yet Romania is a rich country; both in resources and landscape. And I continued to think that should this project go ahead then in twenty years time the gold that now lies underneath these houses will end up in Switzerland.”rnrn* * *rn rnMore information may be obtained from Dragos Nacu, spokesman of the Romanian Delegation on +40 (0)721 797195 and Csaszar Tibor, spokesman of the Hungarian delegation on +36 30 297 1213.rn

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