(Photo source) What is it going to take for RMGC to understand and accept that their gold-mining project at Rosia Montana is NOT wanted in Romania?
Last Monday, the joint parliamentary commission for Rosia Montana voted NO to a draft bill submitted by the government that would have given the go-ahead for Europe's largest (and most dangerous) open mine to move forward in Romania. The news sent the Canadian mining company’s stock down 10%, or 9.3¢ to close at 82.7¢ on the Toronto Stock Exchange. No sympathy whatsoever from this corner, and certainly none from the hundreds of thousands of protesters out in the streets either.
Jonathon Henry, the chief executive of Gabriel Resources (the parent company of Rosia Montana Gold Corp.), remains 'confident' however that all is not lost. Romania's parliament is considering a general gold and silver mining bill which could still leave the door open for Gabriel’s project - a point that gives hope to RMGC and stokes fury and indignance for the protesters and NGOs who have been demonstrating for the last 14 years, along with those out there across the globe week after week since 1st September.
“It doesn’t mean the plan is dead in the water. What they have said is that they believed that a project that was as complex as ours shouldn’t go through as a separate bill,” said Henry.
(Photo source) Yeah, right. The so-called promised 'scientific and technical' report presented was anything but scientific and technical - there was no mention whatsoever of a single constitutional flaw within the government's draft bill, eg. the infringements of private property laws or the grave violations of Romania's Constitution. And neither did it address opinions and arguments made by experts. It excels, however, at going around the houses to circumnavigate the law and is nothing more than a list of transcripts and calls for re-negotiation instead. It is, basically, killing time.
"We can already anticipate that the lobbying made by the Prime Minister for the mining industry will turn to new tactics, no less harmful for the entire region of the Apuseni Mountains. Our protests continue and we will insist on the resignation of all those who initiated the draft bill. Recent declarations from the political leaders show clear intentions to find new means to deceive public opinion. Their new ideas are even more graceless and dangerous, but I rest assured that people who have taken to the streets over the last months will shout down any of their plans, because they are much more intelligent and skilful than any of the cyanide addicts in Government", declared Eugen David.
Indeed, the largest public protests in post-communist Romania are not going to cease and the protesters themselves show absolutely NO sign of letting themselves be manipulated into violence, though efforts have been made through provocation and infiltration - an old communist tactic - for them to do so. 11 weeks of perseverant street protests have been solid proof of a powerful and intelligent civil society determined in its decision to oppose a corrupt political class that is completely detached from its peoples’ interests.
The Save Rosia Montana campaign has denounced the commission from the very beginning as being utterly useless - and this simply proves their point.
(Photo source) If Romania needs an eco-safe and profitable mining contract, THIS is NOT it. Until the people of Romania have proof of a responsible and competent political class that is not blinded by self-interest, such grandiose projects should not even be contemplated. Surely, Romania finds herself in an extremely strong position today, for Gabriel is not the ONLY mining company out there wanting to profit from her gold. In that case, Gabriel should be given the boot once and for all, and another eco-conscious, reliable company found (preferably not a Canadian one, see HERE for why) that could put forward a cyanide-free, law-abiding project that is beneficial for the Romanian people as a whole. Right?
Romania will NOT profit from RMGC's project. Not today, not in years to come, not ever. Gabriel MUST GO. 900 jobs over 16 years? Is that the best of the arguments in its favour, for it is no reason to string out these negotiations yet further still - and I would bet my bottom dollar that the majority of those jobs would be outsourced to lower labour-costing countries such as the Ukraine, in any case. In addition, the number of local jobs that would actually be LOST as a result of such a project are in their thousands.
As for the money to be made by Romania, frankly, everybody knows it's peanuts. For those still arguing on the tax the Romanian state would receive from RMGC, well, documents leaked have shown that the mining company is exempt and will only start paying up once their own debts are paid off. For all we know, the company may not generate any profit at all thanks to financial loopholes, and thus end up paying no taxes in the long run. The Romanian state itself is set to make a paltry 2-4 billion euros over the entire 16 years, whilst anything more is pure speculation. The biggest winner for the whole project is, and has always been, Gabriel. Is it really worth it?
(Photo source) It is certainly not worth the toxic water; a cyanide lake visible from the moon; a screwed up eco-system: four exploded mountains; mass expropriation (974 households and over 2000 people); the destruction of 10 churches, 12 cemeteries, 40 houses (listed historic monuments), 50 historic monuments (7 classified); the huge and invaluable loss of heritage and patrimony (Roman galleries unique in the world); the eradication of 250 hectares of forest and the total devastation of one of the country's most beautiful regions. But RMGC and its backers seem to think it is.
There is, in fact, NO amount of money that would justify such an environmental massacre.
RMGC has promised over and over again that the area would be 'cleaned up' after all gold has been extracted. 'You wouldn't even notice we'd been there,' Dragos Tanase declared on more than one occasion. Well, maybe those 4 blown-up mountains would give the game away for a start. How would they set about 'rebuilding' those, much less hiding them?
Gabriel has threatened to sue the Romanian government for over $4bn, should the project not go ahead. But on what grounds? Do they have a legal basis to do so? It is UNACCEPTABLE for a company to threaten a country - and the hundreds of thousands of protesters out there on the streets echo the sentiment. For that reason, and for that reason alone, RMGC should be shown the door. NEVER should they be permitted to extract a single ounce of gold from Romania's soil. Ever.
(Photo source) I am hoping Henry is wrong. I am hoping that, though I have no respect for the Romanian government whatsoever and trust them even less, they will NOT be prepared to take a final gamble with yet another mining bill that could mean losing their hold on power for the sake of Gabriel - a foreign company known world-wide for its disinformation, its unlawful PR campaigns, its bullying of journalists, and its employees heavingly spamming media outlets and blogs with propaganda using proxys when necessary. It is repugnant. Enough is enough.
Gabriel/RMGC, get out of Romania. Your time is up.
Romania will NOT be held to ransom. And it is NOT for sale.