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ROSIA MONTANA, Romania — Nature has carved a humbling landscape of deep river valleys and reddish peaks in a corner of the Carpathian mountains in western Romania.

Rosia Montana town, made up of 16 villages that dot the slopes along the river Rosia, has hundred-year-old churches and houses, cemeteries and ancient Roman mine galleries.

It also has gold. But for many who live here, that is more of a bane than anything else.

Canada’s Gabriel Resources wants to build Europe’s largest open cast gold mine in Rosia Montana, a 15-year quest that has put the area at the centre of a national debate between heritage and development.

The mine could bring billions of euros in taxes and potentially thousands of jobs to an economically depressed region. But it will also require blasting four mountain tops, relocating the community and flooding one village to create a 300-hectare pond for chemical waste held back by a 180-metre-high dam.

On Friday, shares of Gabriel rose more than 20% after Romania’s economy minister said he was convinced the Rosia Montana project would start this year.

The mine has the support of most of the 2,800 locals, the mayor and county administration and President Traian Basescu, eyeing the bounty the investment will bring.

Those who oppose the project – a handful of residents, several church, environmental and human rights groups, the Soros Foundation and neighbour Hungary, which fears the consequences of any environmental damage – want to turn the area into a UNESCO heritage site focused on tourism and farming.

Critics are concerned that concession rights were awarded without transparency and without exploring other options.

Romania’s new leftist Prime Minister Victor Ponta, a political opponent of Basescu, has openly criticised both the plan and the president’s support, and the topic will be a focus of debate in the run-up to a November parliamentary election.

The issue also cuts to the heart of Romania’s economic problems, as the European Union’s second-poorest nation struggles to take advantage of its resources and strategic location between western Europe and the Middle East.

“Basically it’s a choice between two world views set around the question of how we see Rosia Montana and Romania’s future in five, 50 or 500 years,” said Magor Csibi, country manager at the Romanian arm of environmental group WWF.

“It’s a war of nerves,” said Csibi. “Whoever lasts longest wins.”

TWO SIDES TO THE STORY

When hundreds rally against the mine in the capital Bucharest, hundreds rally in Rosia Montana in support. When Greenpeace activists stormed the ministry chaining themselves to radiators in January, mine supporters gathered outside demanding jobs days later. Countless court cases challenging the permits are pending, as are many appeals by the company.

Stuck in the middle, with no other source of employment, the community is slowly dying out. The villages lack central heating or running water and infrastructure is decaying, while previous mines have polluted the water.

Most locals hope Gabriel Resources’ Romanian unit, Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), will restore jobs and the economy.

In fact, mining is the reason there is a community here at all.

The town is in the Golden Quadrilateral, an area of about 900 sq km (350 sq miles) which holds one of Europe’s largest gold reserves and is also rich in copper and silver.

The town was founded on mining before Roman times and enriched waves of foreigners who moved to the area under Austro-Hungarian rule.

Nelu Oprisa grew up here and spent 17 years at the state gold mine, working his way up to chief engineer by the time it closed and he retired. He sold his property to RMGC in 2003 and moved to a nearby town, although he still comes back often to look after to a private tourist organization.

“There used to be a time when Rosia was not necessarily thriving, but people had a routine, they worked hard at the mine … drank a little brandy and went home,” said the 52-year-old, smoking and sipping coffee on the main square.

“People had jobs. And we were a lot closer to each other.”

But after the 1989 collapse of communism, Romania was left with an inefficient, heavily subsidised mining sector that employed hundreds of thousands and scarred the environment. It closed hundreds of mines and sacked workers. The government estimates it still needs 1 billion euros (US$1.2 billion) for ecological repairs.

Many people left Rosia Montana. Others, like Oprisa, sold their properties to RMGC and moved to modern houses the firm built in the town of Alba Iulia, 80 km (50 miles) away.

“The Romanian state cannot sit on the largest gold reserve in Europe without investing,” Oprisa said.
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Eugen David, a former copper miner who moved to Rosia Montana roughly 17 years ago when he met his wife, feels differently. He owns land on top of one of RMGC’s planned quarries and where it aims to build a processing plant and says he will give it up only by force.

As the head of anti-mine organisation Alburnus Maior, David no longer greets the mayor or Oprisa. His alternative to the mine is farming and using Rosia Montana’s notoriety to attract tourists.

“I have a fundamental right to live here,” the charismatic 47-year-old said in his backyard, where he and his family run a cattle farm. “I never understood why mining is hailed as the sole development solution for this place. I mean, we haven’t developed much in 2,000 years of mining.”

Several thousand people visit Rosia Montana each year, most just passing through. Even with massive investment, there is little guarantee the locals will be able to earn enough from tourism.

At the moment, it is difficult to get to and has little tourism infrastructure in spite of its natural beauty and mining heritage.

“If it goes forward it will destroy this community. There will be no more mountains. The company will relocate 1,000 families. How is that good for the community?” David said.

“Not everybody will earn a living from the mine, just as not everybody will earn a living from tourism and farming. But these would be cleaner, more sustainable jobs.”

Sursa in continuare si foto: Financialpost

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Suntem un grup de entuziasti, majoritatea voluntari, care consideră că

presa nu este doar o ”gura de iad”

iar libertatea de exprimare NU este libertatea de a minți ci

LIBERTATEA DE A AFLA SI A SPUNE CAT MAI MULT ȘI MAI DES ADEVARUL.

Cei care controleaza presa

(intrega presa se afla in mana unor particulari cu conexiuni aproape clare)

urmaresc sa genereze agitatie, violenta, sa faca publicitate sexualitatii desantate si practicilor sexuale deviante, sa glorifice lipsa de educatie,

sa afecteze pacea fireasca intre cetatenii romani de etnie romana si cei de etnie maghiara,

sa foloseasca minoritatile etnice si sexuale pentru a discrimina majoritatea si a o controla.

Toate acestea se desfasoara conform unui plan intocmit cu precizie si pe care chiar și unii masoni, scarbiti de mizeria care erau pusi sa o faca de catre superiorii masoni, l-au deconspirat.

Ce putem face? Sa ne informam corect, sa fim prietenii si binevoitori unii cu altii, sa ne educam si sa ne unim pentru a face binele.

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