Protests have grown all over Europe, but especially in both Bucharest and Budapest over the Rosia Montana gold mine, with both the Partidul Verde, the Romanian Green party and their colleagues in LMP, the Hungarian Green party, adding their voices.
Rosia Montana is situated near a picturesque village in Transylvania. Gabriel Resources, a Canadian gold mining company, plan to hugely expand an old mine there, and hope to extract 300 tonnes of gold over 16 years. The plan will destroy the tops of four mountains. More crucially, it will use huge amounts of poisonous cyanide as part of the mining process. Protesters are highly concerned about the environmental impact of the plan. Hungary has expressed concerns about the effect of the cyanide on rivers that flow into Hungary. In 2000, cyanide poisoning in the Tisza river from a Romanian mine caused huge environmental damage, killing off most life in the Hungarian part of the river. European Greens’ Member Party LMP (Politics can be different) was one of the main advocates to avoid further exploitation with a risk to pollute the rivers with poisonous effects on drink water and agriculture.Both Partidul Verde and LMP have been part of huge protests in Budapest, where 20,000 people called for the plan not to go ahead. LMP also raised the issue directly with the Hungarian government, asking why they haven't been more vocal on the issue. Greens in both countries have raised the fact that cyanide mining likely contravenes EU directives on pollution and water quality.
Katalin Csiba, international secretary for LMP has insisted that if Romania’s parliament gives the green light to the scheme, “four mountains and three villages with 2,000 people would disappear”. She warned that cyanide-containing liquid waste from the mine would fill a reservoir of 360 hectares and just like the Tisza, it would not be stopped by Hungary’s border. “We do not want to see dead fish again in the river polluted with cyanide,” she said.
On Tuesday September 17, the Romanian Parliament voted to establish a commission that will decide on the project. They will give their judgement at some point in November. In the mean ime Greens protest all over Europe to avoid the mining exploitation to happen.