The campaign to stop the Rosia Montana gold mining project in central Romania is picking up momentum across the North Sea with hundreds of protesters rallying in London’s Trafalgar Square.
The demonstration yesterday (September 29) was the sixth London protest against plans by Canadian firm Gabriel Resources to mine 314 tonnes of gold and 1,500 tonnes of silver in Rosia Montana. It followed a bike rally in the British capital on September 28.
Attending one of the London protests Nicolae Ratiu, Treasurer of the Romanian Cultural Institute London, quoted by The Independent newspaper said: “It’s the first time that the Romanian civil society since the revolution [against communism in 1989] have actually focussed around a particular issue saying ‘this is a violation of our civil rights – and we need to stand up and make a difference’.”
Meanwhile, protesters continued their efforts in Romania with a rally in Bucharest drawing an estimated 2,000 people despite cold and wet weather.
At the same time in Cluj about 5,000 people took to the streets to oppose the plans on Sunday evening (September 29).
Beginning a month ago, the daily protest movement, which has appeared in 75 cities across the world, was sparked by the Romanian Government’s decision to approve draft legislation permitting Gabriel to mine the concession in central Romania.
Gabriel, the majority owner of Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) has owned the Rosia Montana mining licence for 15 years, although environmental campaigners have so far blocked its attempts to create Europe’s biggest open cut mine on the site.
RMGC, about 20 percent owned by the Romanian State, plans to use cyanide leeching technology to mine the minerals, which critics say will create too great of an environmental hazard.
The plans, which need to be approved by the Romanian Parliament, would also see significant excavation at the site, which is home to ancient Roman galleries, old churches and hundreds of families, many of whom have already been relocated.
Supported by miners living in the area, the company says its project will bring money and jobs to Romania.
Shaun Turton, [email protected]