A resolution adopted at the 7th EGP Council meeting in Vienna, 12-14 October 2007.
Economical and social aspects: It is expected that the exploitation of gold and silver is to be carried out for 17 years. That means that at the end of the exploitation period people of this area are to be made jobless again, with many unemployed (and a seriously damaged environment), social problems won’t be solved in the long term.
The project affects 38% of the surface of Rosia Montana and about 1800 people, who will have to be relocated, and will also result in the demolition of 740 houses and a few churches and their graveyards. This operation provoked a negative reaction and the dissatisfaction of many locals, although many of them accepted the attractive financial compensation offered by the exploitation company.
Juridical aspects: Compatibility of this project with European legislation in the context of Romanian joining the European Union. This forces Romania to respect some aspects of the European legislation and also to fully adopt it. Problems identified:
1. The method used during elaboration of the mining project Rosia Montana infringes the following: Directive of Evaluation of the Impact on Environment 85/337/EEC of 27, July 1985 and Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament.
2. The method of gold separating with cyanide infringes Directive 80/68/EEC of 17, December 1979 for protection of underground waters.
3. Imposed relocation measures that the Romanian authorities are to take against the local residents who refuse to sell their properties infringe art. 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which Romania must comply with. People whose fundamental rights have been damaged have at present the possibility of defending them at the European Court of Human Rights.
4. This project also infringes the Berlin Convention (10, October 2001) because of the interdiction in using cyanosis in mining exploitations in European Union.
General conclusion is that the project doesn’t correspond to the criteria of art. 8 paragraph 2 of European Convention of Human Rights. It is also against not only the environment legislation of the European Union but also against the basic principles and standards of the European Convention of Human Rights.
We can’t also ignore the risk of law suits to the European Court of Human Rights of Strasbourg in which Romania (an not the company RMGC ) shall stand accused and face some unfavourable sentences if it shall be proved the rights of some people were compromised or infringed by forced relocation or other legal means.
Technological aspects: The technology used is based on gold extraction by treating ground ore with sodium cyanide solution. Using this type of technology seriously damages the environment. The experience of the disaster of Baia Mare is relevant for this. Similar accidents (about 30 only after 1990) took also place in other countries that use the same technology. Major accidents took place in USA (1993 and 1998), Guyana (1995), Australia (1995), Philippines (1999), but in less populated areas and thus with less dramatic effects.
72% of those accidents were due to flaws in the barrage, 14% to pipes breaking and 14% transport accidents. Nobody can guarantee that these types of accidents won’t happen again and once happened punishing the responsible won’t do any good. We need to say that cyanide is not the only danger: also mud and water resulting from the technological process presents high risks of serious pollution , as do the toxic heavy metals content extracted from the ore, that are even more persistent than cyanide and that can’t be neutralized! In fact even neutralization products of the cyanide (cyanide, metal-cyanide products) though less toxic still have negative effects if accumulated in large quantities in the draught lake. Their properties (toxicity, biological effects) are still less known and so prudence is needed from this point of view.
The technology stipulated in the project for destruction of cyanide with sulpha dioxide (in open air tanks) also brings a potential supplementary pollution agent. In order to avoid any suspicions, the operation of Rosia Montana should be analyzed by the International Cyanide Management Institute that manages “the Code for producing, transporting and using of cyanide in gold production”. The companies that adopt this Code submit their projects to an audit from an independent committee for certification stating that the rules stipulated by the Code. Have been followed. The RMGC project does not mention such certification, although states that “a plan for cyanide management will be worked out.” This plan should already exist!
Natural capital aspects: On surface exploitation (in open quarry) produces significant degradation of the environment, in fact a real mutilation of the landscape, leaving behind huge craters and massive deposits of sterile material, as we can see in an open quarry nearby (to Rosia Poieni). Air, water and soil pollution caused by the on surface exploiting equipment (by uncovering) and by massive transport with heavy equipment (150 tones trucks) of important ore and sterile material quantities cannot be ignored.
Destruction of specific landscape of the Apuseni Mountains reduces to zero tourism potential and eliminates the perspective of durable capitalization of the area on a bigger range not only to Rosia Montana. A polluted area won’t be able to attract any kind of investors.
The explosions used in the uncovering by blasting technology (five times a week) present the risk of vibrations and seismic waves with negative effects near the quarry. This can weaken and lead to the collapse of some construction and old mining galleries.
There are serious risks of the possibility of water leaking into the draught lake, underground infiltrations, hydrocyanic formation (extremely toxic gas) during summer specially under the influence of acid rain, risks that are aggravated by the proximity of centres of population (Campeni,Abrud).
The project promises to reduce the cyanide concentration to 1 part of a million in the water evacuated in the draught lake. The costs of reducing it to such small values are important and it is not certain that this condition shall be respected.
Scientific and historical - archaeological aspects: The area that this project relates to contains archaeological remains of great scientific interest, invaluable, unique in Europe and perhaps in the whole world, as shown by the partial studies of some Romanian and French scientists, financed by the company RMGC in order to obtain “archaeological discharge”. It is necessary to extend this research from the restricted area already investigated (only 4 ha) to the entire surface referred to (at least 100 ha): this would require more time. Gold deposit exploitation can lead to permanent destruction of the dig that means unrecoverable loss and would make impossible the creation of any future cultural tourism area, an economic solution that could be viable in the long term . It is well known that many countries appreciate the value of digs and have made of them cultural and tourist attractions that bring permanent income for the locals (Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Italy and others). Destruction of archaeological remains of such value would be a cultural crime.