Rosia Montana Gold Mine Goes Ahead … Roman Site Threatened?

Graffiti "Salvaţi Roşia Montană" (cf...
Image via Wikipedia

From AFP:

Bucharest issued an archaeological discharge certificate for an area in northwestern Romania where a Canadian firm wants to establish a gold mine, the culture ministry said Friday.

The decision was criticized by groups defending the patrimony of the region’s ancient Roman site.

“The department for culture and national patrimony in the Alba region issued an archaeological discharge certificate for a part of the Carnic mountain” after the National Commission for Archaeology approved an archeology research report, the ministry said in a statement.

Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), which is 80 percent held by Canadian firm Gabriel Resources, needed this permit for its project to establish an open-cast gold mine in the area.

The company is to grant 70 million dollars for preserving and developping the local patrimony, the ministry explained.

The Cultural Foundation Rosia Montana, a defender of this ancient Roman site, said it would go to court to contest the decision.

A previous certificate, given in 2004, was cancelled by an appeal court which ruled that “starting mine activity in the area would affect protected archeological remains”.

Rosia Montana’s green hills are said to hold more than 300 tonnes of gold, one of the biggest deposits in Europe.

For years, archaeologists and historians from around the world have said that the mine would damage one of the most extensive remaining networks of Roman mining tunnels — an opinion rejected by RMGC.

The International Council for Monuments and Sites, one of the three formal advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee, recently supported moves to put Rosia Montana on Romania’s tentative list for UNESCO, a first step in the long process towards a World Heritage listing.

Gabriel Resources obtained a concession license to exploit the local gold in 1999. More than a decade later, the firm has still not been granted all the required environmental and archaeological permits.

Our previous coverage of this:

… and I just came across a website put together by a group trying to save the site (that’s their logo in the image which accompanies this) … it is in Romanian, but  includes some photos of what are apparently archaeological remains …

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