The Rosia Montana Project in Mining Journal: Better times to come?

Written by Catalin Hosu

The Mining Journal recently published an article in its July 2014 edition (featured on the Euromines website) about the Eastern and Central European mining potential and the hurdles this industry has to surpass in order to contribute to the regional renaissance and to overall economic and social development.

Before we look at Romania and at Rosia Montana, it is worth looking at our neighbours first. Bulgaria takes the second place for gold and third place for copper production in the European Union, which grants it a leading position in the regional mining industry. Macedonia, even though it is not in the European Union, is on the fast-track for development of a gold and copper project which benefits from an “overwhelming local, national, and indeed supranational support”, with several other Canadian investments under way. Where does that leave Romania?

I have said this before, within the Raw Materials conference extract, that policy and legal frameworks are crucial for the mining industry in the European Union, especially for Romania, a country often quoted by the Mining Journal as having substantial potential for resource development. Our country unfortunately lacks the “appropriate policies to secure sustainable access” to local mineral resources.

The Mining Journal article refers to the fact that the Romanian government identified seven projects in the mineral resources sector, with Certej and Rosia Montana being the largest known undeveloped gold projects in the country. These projects, together with the rest of Romania’s mineral resources, add up to 15% of the entire EU mineral resource needs. That’s equivalent to 20 Mt of ore per year!

Rosia Montana, the author says, is currently in its 10th year of assessment and despite its progress to fulfil the environmental and socio-economic assessment; the permitting process is still awaiting government approval. This caused us to adopt retrenchment measures in the first half of 2014, but we remain “fully committed to identify, prevent and mitigate any unfavorable impacts this process would have on the local communities’ and properly manage the impact of such decisions toward all affected stakeholders, beyond basic legal requirements”.

Even if I repeat myself, it is important to underline that the company is willing to invest significant financial resources to build the first modern gold and silver mine in Romania and we hope that the current restructuring process represents just a temporary measure until such time as the government approves the mining project.

The mining sector in Romania is an important one and all it needs is to close the gap between political statements, decisions and an updated legislation.