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UNESCO designation could stop Canadian mine in Romania

Mining.com reports, “While protests and marches organized by environmental activists across Europe has definitely galvanized opposition to the (Rosia Montana gold and silver mine in Romania) – which will be Europe’s largest if it goes ahead – the proposed mine may in the end be torpedoed by archeologists.”


The Canadian company Gabriel Resources Ltd. wants to build a massive open-pit gold mine in the Carpathian mountains. They would use cyanide to mine about 314 tons of ton of gold and 1,500 tons of silver. This would involve destroying mountainsides, displacing about 2,000 villagers, and creating a 300-hectare toxic tailings pond.

But, “A British report commissioned by Romania’s ministry of culture and funded by a not-for-profit organisation, Pro Patrimonio, which was kept under wraps for three years by the Bucharest government, has now been made public. According to the The Independent the report deems Rosia Montana worthy of consideration as a UNESCO world heritage site and that its galleries are ‘the most extensive and most important underground Roman gold mine known anywhere’.”

The town’s mayor, who supports the mine, has stated, “If Rosia Montana were added to the UNESCO world heritage list, that would automatically mean that mining [could not] go through.”

The article adds, “The Canadian miner (behind the Rosia Montana mine) has already spent more than $500m on the project… If the project does not go ahead, TSX-listed Gabriel, which has lost more than 60% of its market value this year, has threatened to sue the Romanian government (using an investor-state provision in a ‘trade’ agreement), believing it has a ‘very robust case’ for up to $4 billion in damage claims.”

Further reading
New mining law in Romania threatens valley
Romanian anti-mining activists inspired by Occupy movement
Vote on mine in Romania to take place under threat of investor-state challenge