Rosia Montana has been declared historic site of national importance


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Rosia Montana has been classified as a national historic site of national importance, by order of the Ministry of Culture issued late last year, reports.
“On December 30, 2015 I signed the order of Minister to publish the new list of Historical Monuments in 2015, which will appear in the Official Gazette, whereby the entire village of Rosia Montana within a radius of two kilometres is classified as a site in the A category,” Minister Vlad Alexandrescu wrote on Facebook, according to the source.
The normative act establishes virtually the protection regime implemented at the time of publishing law 422/2001, subsequently amended. Therefore, things return to the protection of a site of national importance, which has generated in recent years intense debates on the mining activity in the area.
The rich mineral resources of the area have been exploited since Roman times or before. The state-run gold mine closed in late 2006 in advance of Romania’s accession to the EU. Gabriel Resources of Canada planned o open a new mine. This has caused controversy on one hand over the extent to which remains of Roman mining would be preserved and over fears of a repeat of the cyanide pollution at Baia Mare and on the other, over the benefits that mining would bring to this poor and underdeveloped part of the country.
The campaign against mining at Roșia Montană was one of the largest campaigns over a non-political cause in the last 20 years in Romania. A plethora of organizations spoke out against the project, from Greenpeace to the Romanian Academy. In late 2009, the Romanian government announced it made the project a priority, but it continued to review the environmental impact assessment initially filed in 2004.
The Project’s origins are in a 1995 deal signed by RAC Deva with the controversial Romanian-Australian businessman Frank Timiş about reprocessing the tailings at Roșia Montană. Several years later, the mining licence for an area of 23.8823 km² around Roșia Montană was transferred to the Roșia Montană Gold Corporation (RMGC) from Minvest Deva SA (successor to RAC Deva). RMGC was owned 80% by Toronto-listed company Gabriel Resources, 19.3% by the Romanian government via Minvest.
Within the project, Roșia Montană Gold Corporation (RMGC) planned to produce 225 tonnes of gold and 819 tonnes of silver over 17 years and it would involve digging up a large area, involving the creation of four mining pits covering 205 ha, the first two at the old mining sites of Cirnic and Cetate, followed by pits at Jig and Orlea in Phase II. Up to 250 million tonnes of cyanide-laced tailings will be stored in a 363ha pond in the Corna Valley behind a 185m-high dam.
The corporation was not able to gain full authorization for the project. State authorities granted permits which were later annulled by the courts following appeals by environmental groups. The environmental impact assessment procedure started in 2004, but a final approval was postponed.
In November 2013 the Romanian Senate rejected a draft law which would have paved the way for the mining project to go ahead. Previously, a parliamentary Special Commission concluded that the wording of the draft law was inadequate and recommended that a new law be introduced for the implementation of large scale mining projects across Romania. Amid speculation that the rejection of the draft law could mean the end of the mining project, Gabriel have said that it is “a first step in defining the next phase of developing Roșia Montană”.
In January 2015, as Romania Journal reported at the time, Gabriel Resources Ltd. announced further steps to initiate a positive dialogue with decision makers from within the Romanian Government and competent regulatory directly responsible for progress of permitting and authorizing the development of the Rosia Montana gold and silver mine. To that end the Company issued a formal notification to the President and Prime Minister of Romania on behalf of Gabriel and certain of its affiliates which requests the Romanian Authorities to engage formally in a process of consultation, a release issued by Gabriel Resources informed.
Gabriel said it was seeking an amicable resolution to the dispute which will lead to the development of the Project for the benefit of all stakeholders.

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