How would the mine impact the environment?
We take our responsibility for the environment very seriously. Not just because we have to under EU law, but because a sustainable future benefits all in Roşia Montană.
The carefully designed and considered plans for the future mining operations have as a primary focus a need to minimise any negative impact on the environment. Here is some explanation on how the plans achieve that goal:
Before mining even begins we would clean up existing contamination including heavy metals in the area’s watercourses, which have been left behind by old style unregulated mining.
Modern mining is different. The net impact on the environment would be positive, not negative.
After mining has finished the area would be replanted and returned to nature, leaving things better than they were. After mining operations have ceased, the area would be left with limited visability of any prior mining activities except for those preserved for tourism in the form of museums both above and below ground.
Over $400 million USD would be spent on the environment over the life of the mine and beyond.
The Roşia Montană gold mine would be an environmentally-responsible operation. The mine would meet or exceed all required EU regulations, including:
- The Mine Waste Directive, which addresses management of waste from the extractive industries and includes strict requirements ensuring an appropriate level of safety in relation to mining waste facilities.
- The Environmental Liability Directive, which establishes a framework based on the polluter pays principle, according to which the polluter pays for the prevention and remediation of environmental damage.
- The Environmental Impact Assessment, which is a means of drawing together, in a systematic way, an assessment of the likely significant environmental effects arising from a proposed development.
- The Water Framework Directive, which establishes a framework for the protection of inland surface waters (rivers and lakes), transitional waters (estuaries), coastal waters and groundwater.
- The Waste Framework Directive, which sets out basic concepts and definitions relating to waste management and lays down basic waste management principles.
- The Air Quality Framework Directive, which, together with its four ‘daughter’ directives on air quality, describes the basic principles as to how air quality should be assessed and managed in the EU member states and lists the pollutants for which air quality standards and objectives will be developed.
- The Environmental Noise Directive, which aims to “define a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce on a prioritised basis the harmful effects, including annoyance due to the exposure to environmental noise” and to provide a basis for developing EU measures to reduce noise emitted by major sources.
The mining operations would also clean the extremely toxic zones that currently pollute the Roşia Montană environment, left behind over the course of the region’s more than 2,000 years of mining history. Overall, the gold mine’s environmental rehabilitation efforts before, during, and after the mining would lead to increased biodiversity and ecosystem services in Roşia Montană.
- Currently, 100 litres of highly acidic water flow into Roşia Montană’s streams and rivers every second. The Roşia Montană gold mine would fix this.
- Currently, the chemical concentrations in Roşia Montană’s water supply of cadmium, arsenic, iron, and zinc far exceed legal limits. The Roşia Montană gold mine would fix this.
- Disharge into the tailings dam would operate at cyanide levels well below those required by both Romanian law and European Union mining regulations.
- RMGC would plant 1,000 hectares of forest by the end of mining to assist with landscape rehabilitation.
- Mining operations would recycle 85 percent of the water used during the mine life.
- RMGC has invested over $10 million USD to tackle the immediate pollution problems and has committed over $150 million USD for rehabilitation efforts post-mining.
For more information, check out this fact sheet about the Roşia Montană gold mine’s environmental impact.
Next Article Previous Article