How do local people feel about the mine proposal?
In the last five years the new management of RMGC have recognised that the old plans for the mine needed to be modernised. Working with a progressive government under the USL the Roşia Montană gold mine has now been amended to have the interests of the community, cultural heritage and environmental responsibility as key pillars of the implementation of mining operations.
The new government in Romania and the new management of Roşia Montană recognise the importance of sustainable modern mining.
The new plan preserves a number of key cultural artifacts in situ including the entire village of Roşia Montană, establishes a museum, tourist centre, the restoration of historic buildings and of Roman tunnels beneath the village.
- 78 percent of people living in Roşia Montană supported the construction of the gold mine in a December 2012 referendum.
- In addition, 62 percent of people living in the broader Apuseni Mountains region supported the construction of the gold mine.
- RMGC has already invested over $30 million USD in preserving Roşia Montană’s history.
- RMGC has built a museum dedicated to Roşia Montană’s mining culture and heritage, which will attract tourist revenue to the region and nation.
Historically Romania had a strong mining industry and more than 2.6 million people (approx. 12% of the country’s population) live in approximately 600 mining communities. By 2006, the Romanian government closed approximately 80% of the 650 mines that had been operating in the early 90s (to meet EU accession criteria)
More than 200,000 jobs have been lost since 2006, with less than 8,000 new jobs replaced through alternative job creation programs. The referendum in December 2012 demonstrated that people living in mining communities want mining to continue as well as mining traditions.
In a regional referendum in December 2012, 78 percent of Roşia Montană’s inhabitants who voted supported the project. This support derives from the benefits the mine would deliver to Roşia Montană and nation as a whole. Economically, the mine would lift the region out of its current poverty and inject the Romanian national economy with billions of dollars. Environmentally, the mining operations would remove the pollution left by the poorly regulated mining of the past 2,000 years, leaving Roşia Montană’s ecosystems cleaner than before.
In addition to taking care of the present, the Roşia Montană mining project would preserve the past. Roşia Montană has over two millennia of history, stretching back to the Romans. The project has already invested over $30 million USD in preserving and restoring local heritage. This preservation work has already excavated and preserved more than two miles of Roman galleries and the footprint of the mine has been redrawn to preserve the historical centre of Roşia Montană whilst avoiding disruption to other historical artefacts. In addition to this preservation, a mining museum has been created in the village by refurbishment of a degrading building to honour the mining culture and heritage or the area and to act as a tourist attraction for years to come.
RMGC has continued to focus on developing its working relationships with the local communities and authorities, and on initiatives including:
- establishing a resettlement village for 125 homeowners , who chose the location of ‘La Recea’ in a suburb of the regional capital, with expansion potential to 200+ homes
- ongoing major refurbishment on buildings in the historical centre of Rosia Montana:
- a ‘mining museum’, opened in 2011, showcasing the 2,000-year history of the single, most important, regional industry, with several thousand visitors to date
- the complete restoration of 20 houses and the restoration projects of another 110 houses
- reclamation & rebuild of two former civic buildings to be handed over to the local administration for long-term use in supporting tourism & other enterprise
- archaeological work focused on opening up previously unexplored underground Roman mining galleries, with over 1,000 visitors hosted since restoration
- had employment of over 500 people , mainly from the communities around the project, with many employed in the archaeological program (the largest such program on record in Romania)
- sponsorship of traditional events, educational programs and other community sponsorship and heritage aspects
- signatory to voluntary CSR initiatives and commitment to a establish a model mine
In total, over 300 properties in the historic town centre (Protected Area) would be restored / rehabilitated. Future functions for buildings:
- Mining Museum (opened 2011)
- Dwellings for residents
- Guesthouses and restaurants
- Social dwellings for local people
- Offices and shops
For more information, check out this fact sheet about the resettlement and relocation impact on local residents and this fact sheet about RMGC’s efforts to protect Roşia Montană’s mining heritage.