MAC: Mines and Communities

Romanian revolutionary rebels against Canadian mining project

Published by MAC on 2012-03-20
Source: Mining.com, AFP (2012-03-12)

One of the leaders of Romania's 1989 revolution against dictator Nicolae Ceausescu quit his party last week.

He was protesting against plans to "heap leach" gold at the controversial Rosia Montana mine. See: Romanians Protest Against Gold Mine Plan

Editorial note: In January 2009 Vietnamese revolutionary leader, Vo Nguen Giap, also criticised his government's  proposals to allow bauxite mining in the country's Central Highlands. See: Vietnamese revolutionary leader speaks out on mining

Canada's Gabriel Resources under fire in Romania

by Cecilia Jamasmie

Mining.com

12 March 2012

Canada's Gabriel Resources Ltd. became the centre of attention this morning as an important figure of Romania's 1989 revolution, MEP Laszlo Tokes, left his party on Monday over Rosia Montana, a debated gold mine project in north-western Romania.

The Vancouver Sun reports Tokes based his decision on his opposition to heap-leaching, a particular method of extracting gold that uses cyanide to leach the precious metal from mined material.

"As the initiator of a resolution from the European Parliament banning the use of cyanide in the mining industry, I cannot accept the attitude of my party towards the mining investment in Rosia Montana," Tokes was quoted as saying in a press release.

Gabriel Resources shares felt the impact of the news this morning, as they were down almost 3% in the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Rosia Montana gold and silver project, one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits in Europe, has been criticized by environmentalists, archaeologists and non-governmental organisations fighting corruption, but it has the support of Romanian president Traian Basescu.

Another controversial issue related to the project is the diversion of a river in the area, Minister of Environment and Forestry Laszlo Borbely told Agerpres last week.

Gabriel Resources, which it is awaiting an environment permit to start works at Rosia Montana, may need a new permit because current legislation is unclear, added Borbely.

According to the company's website, Rosia Montana has reported resources of 14.6 million ounces of gold and 64.9 million ounces of silver (measured and indicated), including 10.1 million ounces gold and 47.6 million ounces of silver reserves (proven and probable at grades of 1.46 g/t and 6.88 g/t respectively).

Rosia Montana is a community of sixteen villages located in a district known as the Golden Quadrilateral, in the South Apuseni Mountains of Romania.

The area has been one of Europe's most prolific mining districts for over 2000 years.
The Rosia Montana concession zone, which affects four of these villages, was subject to open pit mining by the state mining company, Minvest, until 2006. Following the closure of the mine with the loss of thousands of jobs, unemployment is reported to be 80% in the region.


Canadian mining project under attack from Romanian revolution figure

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

12 March 2012

BUCHAREST - A key figure of Romania's 1989 revolution, MEP Laszlo Tokes, resigned from his party on Monday over a controversial Canadian gold mine project in northwestern Romania.

His stand centres on a particular method of extracting gold which uses cyanide to leach the precious metal from excavated material.

"As the initiator of a resolution from the European Parliament banning the use of cyanide in the mining industry, I cannot accept the attitude of my party towards the mining investment in Rosia Montana" (northwestern Romania), Tokes said in a press release.

Tokes accused the Hungarian minority UDMR party of supporting plans by Canadian firm Gabriel Resources to use up to 12,000 tons of cyanide a year to extract 300 tonnes of gold in operations at the village of Rosia Montana, in the heart of Transylvania.

The project has been criticised by environmentalists, archaeologists and non-governmental organisations fighting corruption but it has the support of Romanian president Traian Basescu.

The minister of Culture, Kelemen Hunor, a member of the UDMR party has given a green light to the project which still needs a go-ahead from the Environment minister, Laszlo Borbely, also a member of the Hungarian minority party.

In an interview with daily newspaper Adevarul on Monday, Borbely said that an environmental impact assessment was at an "advanced stage" but that some "technical issues still had to be clarified".

"It has become more and more embarrassing for me to answer the questions of my MEP colleagues who are worried about what is happening in Romania...", Tokes said in his press release.

He also attacked what he alleged were attempts by some UDMR lawmakers to "sabotage the activities of the anti-corruption agency and prosecutors".

Tokes, an ethnic Hungarian protestant pastor, is seen as the catalyst of the "Romanian revolution" which led to the fall of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in December 1989.

On December 15, hundreds of parishioners had rallied in Timisoara (west) to prevent him from being evicted by the communist authorities, following his sermons critical of the regime.

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