Why the Roşia Montană gold mine will benefit the environment

Written by Catalin Hosu

Mining.com has published a challenging piece, Environmental Gold, by Dr. Joseph Zammit-Lucia, an author, commentator, and independent scholar of environmental and conservation issues. The article discusses the irresponsible behaviour of a group of activists who are attempting to block the Roşia Montană project by spreading a campaign of misinformation and fear, rather than looking clearly at its benefits. He argues that, rather than engaging in the advantages of the project and the huge potential it affords Romania, these activists use incomplete, partial arguments and “quote the facts selectively to serve their narrow ends.” Dr. Zammit-Lucia notes the very real commitments to the environment that RMGC has already made and will continue to make through construction, operation and final closure of the mine, as well as huge economic benefits of a project that could inject over $24 billion USD into the Romanian economy.

One of the key points highlighted in this article is that Roşia Montană is not a pristine landscape, as many would wish one to believe. The region has suffered enormously from past unregulated mining activities and requires considerable investment to rectify the current pollution and mess.

“(The region) is an environmental disgrace which needs a significant investment of some 500 million Euros in clean up and restoration. Absent further development, these funds are simply not available. The local communities need further social and development support.”

RMGC has already spent tens of millions of dollars on cleaning up historical pollution and has committed to building a model modern mine, designed to meet or exceed strict Romanian and EU standards and legislation. RMGC has established a detailed plan for the collection and treatment of toxic waters flowing from the abandoned mining galleries. Further measures will be taken to clean the water flowing into local streams so that it may support aquatic flora and fauna. From the very start the area will get incrementally cleaner as the mine operates a water treatment facility over the entire lifespan of the mine, bringing river and soil pollution down to safe levels from their present-day toxic highs.

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