Romania’s economy minister Niculae Bădălău on June 12 announced that the ministry has reopened the first three mines out of the 530 closed in the past.
“One cannot develop an economy without resources. Romania is endowed with resources,” he stated, according to local Adevarul.
Local company Radiocativ Magurele operates the three mines, which are located in the Jolotca district in Harghita county and produce europium -- a chemical element that is used in the cooling systems of the batteries (of the electric vehicles), according to the economy minister. Europium was typically used as an absorber of neutrons, which made it valuable in control rods for nuclear reactors (hence the interest of Radioactiv Magurele in the mines). Other applications typically base on its fluorescence.
Minister Bădălău promised that, within a year, “all the mines will be open”. However, it is unclear what he meant by “all the mines”. Most of the mines, particularly the coal mines, were closed down due to lack of financial feasibility and their closure involved a large volume of grants disbursed from the state budget. Adevarul daily quotes an estimate dating back from 2006, when the Economy Ministry estimated at EUR 430 million the funds needed for the closure of the 408 mines that were still on the closure list (after 126 mines had been closed by then).
(Photo source: Facebook/Niculae Badalau)