MAC: Mines and Communities

Switzerland: International Day against gold mining in Zurich

Published by MAC on 2013-04-22
Source: Save Roşia Montană Campaign

International Day against gold mining in Zurich - Switzerland

19 April 2013

April, 17th has been a day entirely day dedicated to protesting against the European Gold Forum, by the activist movement in Zurich. The European Gold Forum is an annual meeting of gold mining corporations around the world. Members of various active movements from Bern, Lausanne, Zurich and other cities in Switzerland, representatives of communities struggling against mining projects in Argentina and Greece, as well as the chief of indigenous tribes in Canada, together with 20 members of Save Roşia Montană Campaign reunited in protest actions which took place for the entire day.

During the three days Forum, some of world's biggest gold mining corporations have met in Zurich, an important spot on the global gold trading map, to plan the future of mining industry in the most utterly discrete atmosphere. Many of the participating companies face strong opposition in the places where they operate; opposition which is manifested by local communities who don't want to leave their land and be poisoned with cyanide used in the mining process. These forms of struggles are diverse, confronting the economical interests of the corporations and having barely any support from the decision makers. Often, the struggles are dramatic, but profoundly inspirational.

The morning of the 17th started with a surprise action in front of the Park Hyatt Hotel, where the European Gold Forum was taking place. The action was organized as a funeral convoy that exposed the dramatic reality from Roşia Montană, where Gabriel Resources digs out dead people from their graves and displaces hundreds of families from their homes and their land, in the name of profit. Twenty Romanian activists wearing golden masks interrupted the program of the day, to deliver a golden coffin together with a message addressed to Gabriel Resources and to all the other companies: "Roşia Montană will not be destroyed by gold mining" and "Gabriel, RIC - rest in cyanide!". For more information and photos from the action, see:

The day continued with a public demonstration starting from a central point in the financial district and finishing in front of the Park Hyatt Hotel. Around 300 people took part in the demonstration, displaying messages in solidarity with the Save Rosia Montana Campaign and other struggles from different parts of the world, such as Argentina, Greece and Canada. Accompanied by live protest music, the people marched on the streets around the hotel, shouting slogans against the dirty gold business and exploitation of human and the environment, as well as unity and solidarity encouragements. The main message delivered to the mining companies in the hotel was that the struggles against mining projects will never surrender and that solidarity among the opposition is becoming more powerful every day.

At the end of the demonstration, an open assembly started. Within an open and free space, the participants discussed and shared experiences from various resistance movements and proposed ideas for these to grow. They also pointed to the role played by Switzerland in processing and trading of gold on its territory and reflected on solutions that would stop Swiss' contribution to exploitation and destruction of the environment and the communities around the world.

During the assembly, Arthur Manuel (spokesperson for Idle No More and Defenders of the Land and Chief of the Indigenous Network on Economy and Trade in Canada), Humberto Galindez (member of the Asamblea Socioambiental de Catamarca, Argentina) and members of Save Roşia Montană Campaign have spoken. The discussions continued for the entire evening in a public space nearby the hotel. Photos from the demonstration and the open assembly can be seen here:

Save Roşia Montană activists deliver gold coffin to the prestigious European Gold Forum in Zurich[314]=x-314-40529&cmd[316]=x-322-40529&cmd[300]=x-299-40529

17 April 2013

2013, April, 17th - Today, during the European Gold Forum taking place in Zurich, Switzerland, 20 Romanian members of Save Roşia Montană Campaign protested against the dirty gold mining business. Gabriel Resources, the Canadian company who wants to mine Rosia Montana for gold, was one of the contested participants at the event. The activists boycotted the conference of the gold mining industry and sent a strong message to Gabriel Resources: the struggle against the mining project in Roşia Montană, Romania will never surrender.

The activists came to protest all the way from Romania to expose the dirty corporate practices in Roşia Montană, the village where Gabriel Resources wants to build the largest open cast gold mine in Europe. The European Gold Forum is taking place between 16th and 18th of April in Zurich, one of the most important centers in the gold global commerce, more than a third of the total global gold production being traded here. Additionally, 50% of all world's traded gold is physically transported through Switzerland, where 5 out of 11 the most important gold refineries are located.

Organized as a funeral convoy and wearing golden masks, the protesters interrupted the meeting of the mining companies, bringing to public attention the reality of how Gabriel Resources is displacing families from their land and is digging out dead people from their graves in Rosia Montana. All this in the search for profit, violating human rights and disrespecting legislation in place. The Romanians delivered the Canadian company a golden coffin with the message "Gabriel, RIC - rest in cyanide!", as a reference to Gabriel Resources' plan to use cyanide in the gold processing technology.

During the action, the activists displayed several banners showing messages such as "Roşia Montană will not be destroyed for Gold Mining", "Stop gold mining!" or "Save Roşia Montană". They also exposed photographs revealing empty graves from Roşia Montană, left behind by Gabriel Resources. The dirty actions that Gabriel Resources is taking in the pursuit for gold: violation of human rights, cyanide poisoning, displacement of families from their land, digging out dead people from the graves, destruction of environment and cultural heritage.

"The gold forum happening these days in Zurich is not by chance. All the mining companies came here in one of the world's gold trading capitals to plan the future of their dirty businesses in a quiet atmosphere. We came to Zurich expose the abusive practices that Gabriel Resources is taking in Roşia Montană in the name of profit to all mining companies, their investors and Swiss people and send the message that we will not give up fighting for our rights to land, healthy environment and freedom of expression.", declared Bogdan Buta, one of the protesters.

Save Roşia Montană Campaign is the convergence between the local opposition in Roşia Montană, manifested in the Alburnus Maior association, and activists across entire Romania. We struggle since 13 years against what is planned to be the biggest open cast gold mine in Europe, the mining project proposed by the Canadian company Gabriel Resources. Save Roşia Montană Campaign opposes this unprecedented project, based on social, environmental, cultural and economical grounds.

The action today is one from a series of events meant to bring out the voice of the movements around the world against mining projects. During the European Gold Forum, on the 17th of April, a public demonstration will take place in front of the Park Hyatt from Zurich in solidarity with Rosia Montana and the struggles in Greece (Halkidiki), Argentina (Catamarca), Columbia and Peru. Later in the evening, there will be an open assembly where there are expected to participate Arthur Manuel (Chief of the Indigenous Network on Economy and Trade and spokesperson for Defenders of the Land and Idle no More), Humberto Galindez (lawyer and member of Asamblea Socioambiental de Catamarca, Argentina) and activists from Greece, Peru and Colombia.

For phographs from the action, please visit:

For more information about the action, please contact Raluca Dan, Save Roşia Montană Campaign at telephone no. 0041 77 448 44 14

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