|Rosia Montana Gold Mine (Transylvania, Romania)|
Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) the company behind the project, which was first mooted back in the mid-1990s, says that the new mine could benefit the Romanian economy to the tune of $19bn (£12bn) and create thousands of jobs in the process. The proposed mining project by the Canadian company Eldorado Gold Corporation through the Deva Gold Company at Certej, Hunedoara County, has just received the environmental permit from the Regional Environmental Protection Agency of Timisoara.
Not everyone thinks that this proposed development is a good thing, local activists and some residents are seriously concerned about the reopening of the old mine and the use of cyanide in ore processing. They may have a point, especially after leaks of toxic chemicals used in mining processes at Baia Mare (in Romania) in 2000 and more recently in neighbouring Hungry, had a massive impact on local people and the wider environment.
The proposed development aside will destroy some key archaeological sites, where there is archaeological and metallurgical evidence of gold mining from the classical period. Alburnus Maior was founded by the Romans during the rule of Trajan as a mining town, with Illyrian colonists from South Dalmatia. The earliest reference to the town is on a wax tablet dated 6 February AD 131. Archaeologists have discovered houses, necropolises, mine galleries, mining tools, 25 wax tablets and many inscriptions in Greek and Latin, centred around Carpeni Hill much of which will be destroyed if the mining project goes ahead. .
Whether we are talking about communities in the developed world or the developing world the bottom line has to be that that local people should have a significant say or even control over the development process and any community should benefit from the exploitation of local resources. Too many times (here in Wales and elsewhere) we have seen that promises of jobs have not been fulfilled and too many local communities have been left with a toxic environmental legacy and scant long term benefits.