Saturday, 08. March 2014 - 11:03
16. 03. 12. - 14:00
Some 60 persons have been detained by gendarmes in Bucharest yesterday (Thurs) afternoon for protesting without authorisation against the gold-mining project at Rosia Montana, the local press informs.
Activists from Re.Generation ecologist group staged a spontaneous protest in front of the Environment Ministry calling on the authorities to drop the mining project. The protesters wearing white quarantine jumpsuits and masks were trying to set up a quarantine zone around the building. They are accusing ministry officials of being biased in the assessment of environmental consequences of the use of cyanide in the gold extraction process.
They say the use of this technology will lead to an ecological and cultural disaster at Rosia Montana, an UNESCO protected area.
The activists said in a communique posted on their website: www.luptapentrurosiamontana.ro that the gendarmes were holding 60 protesters, including passersby, who joined the protest in solidarity with Rosia Montana.
"They used violence against us. Women were dragged along the street, some protesters were punched with fists. Protesters holding the Constitution in their hands were picked up and put in gendarmerie vans," reads the communique. The group posted a video on YouTube and on their website showing people with open wounds after the intervention by the gendarmes.
Secretary of State Marin Anton announced on 23 February that the gold mining project met all technical requirements and the authorisation commission would release the certificate to operate in the upcoming period to Rosia Montana Gold Corporation.
The gold mine project has stirred up a lot of controversy in Romania, with civil society and environment activists warning that the use of cyanide would destroy the area, under UNESCO protection.
More recently, on the back of the economic crisis and rising unemployment, the mining project has gained more support. According to a study, carried out in February, 82 per cent of Romanians allegedly supported the mining operations at Rosia Montana.
According to the National Agency for Mineral Resources, the Rosia Montana gold reserves are estimated to be 300 tonnes, while the total gold reserves of the country are put at some 700 tonnes.
The company which plans to extract 300 tonnes of gold and 1,600 tonnes of silver from Rosia Montana is owned by Canadian Gabriel Resources (80 per cent), while the Romanian state holds only a 20 per cent stake. The company still awaits environment certificates to start digging for gold, but all environment ministers so far had been reluctant to give their approval to the project.
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