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PM Citu: We'll decide on Rosia Montana development plan after consulting with communities in the area

Prime Minister Florin Citu on Wednesday said that a decision on a development plan in the Rosia Montana area will be made after consulting with the local authorities and after the Minister of Culture will present a situation in this regard.

At the end of the Government meeting, Florin Citu was asked what is the Government's plan regarding the development of the area economically, after the Rosia Montana site was included in the UNESCO World Heritage on Tuesday.

"We will have a discussion. We will have to see, first of all, with the local authorities what development plan we will have for this area. At the moment there is no decision. But we must have a discussion with the local authorities, because they know best, the communities there, and we will see how we can develop this area," said Citu.

Asked how much the Government will have to allocate for the preservation of the objectives in Rosia Montana, the Prime Minister replied: "I expect a presentation from the Ministry of Culture of the situation after yesterday's decision and after that we will come up with a decision."

 

The ancient gold mining complex in Rosia Montana, a remote locality in the Apuseni Mountains in Western Romania, has been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger. The decision has put an end to any chances for gold mining to resume in the area.

 

The decision is a huge victory for activists who opposed for decades a plan for cyanide-based gold mining in Rosia Montana. Gold was mined in that area since ancient times and the complex features the most significant, extensive and technically diverse underground Roman gold mining complex known worldwide, according to UNESCO, quoted by euractive.ro.

 

The Romanian government wanted to resume mining in Rosia Montana and partnered, back in June 1999, with a Canadian-registered company, Gabriel Resources Ltd, to explore and develop a project to mine the gold and silver reserves in the area.

 

Gabriel Resources claimed the project it aimed to develop was sustainable and environmentally-responsible, but many activists pointed out the risks posed to the environment by the cyanide leaching process used in gold extraction.

Over the years, Gabriel fought the NGOs even in court, but ultimately the government did not issue the permits needed for the start of the mining operation. Gabriel claims the Romanian authorities have unlawfully blocked and prevented implementation of the project without due process and without compensation, and asked for billions of US dollars in damages in an arbitration at the World Bank’s ICSID.

 

Gabriel also claims the project would have protected the cultural heritage of Rosia Montana and “the UNESCO application and inscription are fundamentally at odds with Romania’s obligations under its investment treaties in relation to Gabriel’s investments.”

 

The Romanian government requested the listing of the “Rosia Montana Mining Cultural Landscape” as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016, but subsequently withdrew the application due to the ongoing ICSID arbitration claim. However, in February 2020, the government reactivated the procedure, while the arbitration was still pending.

 

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