Senate Rejects the Rosia Montana Draft Law
The gold mining project in Rosia Montana remains one of the most controversial topics subject to public debate in Romania, mostly because the impact of cyanides on the environment.
Articol de Radio România Internaţional, 20 Noiembrie 2013, 16:26
The gold mining project in Rosia Montana remains one of the most controversial topics subject to public debate in Romania, mostly because the impact of cyanides on the environment. This is, in fact, the main reason why the Canadian company Gold Corporation has been denied the right to initiate mining works in the area. Romanian senators have recently had their say on it.
Documented as early as 131 and boasting the largest estimated gold deposits in Europe, Rosia Montana continues to divide Romanian society between supporters of cyanide-based mining exploitations and those who oppose the project for environmental reasons. Protests have been ongoing in Bucharest and other large cities over the past 12 weeks.
Their actions have not gone out without effect, after on November 11 the special parliamentary committee turned down the draft bill submitted by the Government. In turn Romanian senators have rejected the bill regarding certain measures pertaining to gold and silver-mining operations in Rosia Montana. The only party not to voice any discontent against the project was the Liberal-Democratic Party in opposition. Social-Democrat leader Ilie Sarbu has announced that the report drafted by the Committee has been submitted to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Ilie Sarbu : “For the peace of mind of those involved in the project, the report has been submitted to the General Prosecutor’s Office. Time goes by, but irregularities are still investigated, they cannot be erased, and that gives us some sort of satisfaction”.
The announcement followed after a series of revelations brought to Parliament by Social-Democratic MP Gabriela Firea, a member of the special parliamentary committee on Rosia Montana, who said that Romanians should know that the exploitation certificate for Rosia Montana was issued in 1998 under the mandate of the then Industry Minister, Liberal-Democrat Radu Berceanu.
Radu Berceanu: “The certificate was simply transferred on a free basis from the Romanian minority stakeholder to the foreign majority stake holder. Moreover, the state’s equity stake was cut back from 33 to 19%”.
The findings of the special parliamentary committee were outlined by its chairman Darius Valcov, according to whom the project does not meet all the complex criteria with respect to conducting mining activities in Romania. Darius Valcov also believes that certain alternative ways of establishing revenues and the state’s equity stake should remain on the table for all similar projects, as the case is in other states. Under the current provisions, Rosia Montana would bring in 5.2 billion dollars to the state budget, with Romania becoming Europe’s largest gold producer.