Gold mine project divides Romanians

Second day of protests in Bucharest against a gold mine project ended yesterday evening with young protesters occupying for some time a central boulevard of the Romanian Capital. Rosia Montana gold mine project, located in western Romania (Alba county, Apuseni mountains) is controversial because of the technology the owner, Canadian company Gabriel Resources, plans to use. Various groups, some locals and politicians say the technology would damage the area, creating big environmental troubles. The protests has started when the Government decided to sent a bill to Parliament that basically is giving the OK to extract gold at Rosia Montana.

There are 15 years since the gold mine project, that was sold in the 90s by the state to private entreprises, has been blocked. The investors are trying to get the approvals for extracting gold, but there is a whole history of environmental protests, bureaucracy, shady deals, corruption stories that is surrounding this gold business.

According to Romanian media, the Canadian company is under control of  three gold and diamonds US and Israel billionaires, but somehow, a group of locals in Rosia Montana, led by a farmer, former mine engineer, backed by some young people from national NGOs and sometimes by some politicians succeeded to block the project, refusing to sell their properties to the company.

PM vs President, on “bribes”

On Friday, PM Victor Ponta sent the bill on Rosia Montana gold mine in Parliament, altough he said that “personally”, he would vote against it.

The President Basescu, a big supporter of the project, suggested  that probably Ponta “was bribed” to sent the bill in Parliament. Ponta, who previously accused Basescu of taking bribe to back the project, denied. Earlier in August, Basescu called for a new negotiations of the benefits for the Romanian state. Later, he said he would probably called for a national referendum.

Some Romanian TV stations ignored protests

Romanian media is also divided. According to media monitorizing website, four big Romanian TV networks did not broadcast any news in the first day of protests in Bucharest against gold mine, while another TV station reporters introduced a lot of opinions against the protesters in their news report. The website notes the TV networks previously broadcast advertising paid by the Canadian company, backing the gold mine project.

According to official reports, the mine deposits 300 tones of gold and 1600 tones of silver, being one of the biggest in Europe.




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