Monday, 10. March 2014 - 17:03
04. 06. 12. - 12:00
A group of local non-governmental organisations based in Rosia Montana (West Romania) asked Premier Victor Ponta to dismiss the minister of Economy, Daniel Chitoiu, local press informs today (Mon).
Alburnus Maior, founded in 2000 by villagers from Rosia Montana to oppose Gabriel Resources' gold mine project says the recent statements of the minister come against the promises made by the Government regarding the project.
While visiting the village over the weekend, Chitoiu said that he is convinced that the mining project at Rosia Montana might start in one year.
According to the group of NGOs, these statements are against the ruling programme of the new government. Alburnus Maior claims that the Cabinet promised to turn down the mining project on grounds of environment effects but also because of respecting the national interest and fighting political corruption.
"The opinions of the minister are against the ruling programme. This new offensive of the political lobby has to stop and the assessment of the impact on the environment must be carried out in a transparent manner. It is very serious that a minister gives a verdict ahead the evaluation process", reads the letter sent on Sunday by the NGOs to the Premier.
Daniel Chitoiu told miners at Rosia Montana that the revival of the mining activities is at the core of the ruling programme aimed at relaunching economic growth.
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.
According to a study, carried out in February, 82 per cent of Romanians allegedly supported the mining operations at Rosia Montana. The gold reserves there 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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