Rosia Montana: a deadly shade of Gold

… our glitter story of Transylvanian gold with a sweet after-taste of cyanide

by Ciprian Diaconita and Ion Holban


“The superior man seeks what is right; the inferior one, what is profitable.”

— Confucius

The story of Rosia Montana, a commune of sixteen villages in the middle of Transylvania, which sits on top of Europe’s largest gold deposits, dates back to Roman times when emperor Trajan realized that gold can sustain an empire and Rosia Montana had plenty of it. But what the Romans couldn’t finish, a benevolent Canadian company: Gabriel Resources, will try to. Unlike the Romans, to prove that humanity has evolved a lot in the last 2000 years they have decided to go about mining in a sensible way (as you do in the 21st century) by flattening 4 mountains, cutting down hundreds of hectares of forests and also enriching the water supplies with deadly cyanide.

Resistance to the project has been fierce both at a national level as well as international. In media it led to several documentaries such as “Rosia Montana – Town on the Brink” ( , “Gold Futures” (, “New El Dorado” ( as well as the Gabriel Resources financed “Mine your own business” ( directed by no other then pro-fracking-drillining-mining, climate change denialists for hire, Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney (may their oil pumped bank accounts rest in peace).

But for once this post-some still-communists, bureaucratic, corrupt and without backbone Romanian politicians seemed to somehow reach a state of enlightenment . While in opposition a few years ago, Victor Ponta, the now prime minister and joint leader of the governing Social Liberal Union, was dead set against large scale mining at Rosia Montana raising hope that the landscape will survive the re-branding to Mordor. However old dogs never learn new tricks and the then opposed politicians are now, and obviously after a bit of financial encouragement from RMGC, yelling as loud as they can “Blast, baby, blast! Daddy needs a new Bentley”.

So what made RMGC aka Gabriel Resources, who was on the brink of failure just a few years ago, fire up the fireworks and jump in a pool of champagne? Step in the Romanian government… After years of losing court battles and bad PR the mining company found the mother of all gold nuggets by generously sponsoring the corrupt Romanian politicians into helping out with a special government resolution. This will allow cyanide assisted mining to go ahead, irrelevant of environmental approvals, court judgements or private property. The new law has been voted in the Government’s meeting on 28th August 2013 declaring the mining project a public utility of high national interest. It therefore permits the modification of previous laws and court orders together with the removal of private property and locals opposed to the project. The final step is for the law to be voted in Parliament, where the government already holds a 60% majority.

To help clarify the confusion, we have decided to help the Romanian government by glimpsing into the future to convince the public of all the benefits they will enjoy from the mining project. Firstly, in order to rehabilitate a desolated area, as per the national interest, a few minor changes will be forcibly made as per the below.

Disposable and unwanted assets:

  • Four mountains: to be removed and labelled as the enemies of progress as they hide gold and silver
  • Forests (hundreds of hectares): not currently needed, only producing useless O2, to be chopped off and sold as timber
  • Three villages (over 1000 houses, 9 churches): mostly unemployed, they’re better off finding a job somewhere else (England?)
  • Biodiversity: rich and healthy, therefore a barrier to gold resources in the ground – to be completely wiped out
  • Rivers and streams: currently filled with clean water, to be replaced by imported bottled water
  • Agricultural land: a primitive subsistence landscape that belongs to the last century

New assets to help re-vitalise Rosia Montana:

  • New artificial lake of app. 214 million tons of CYANIDE waste: a new touristic attraction that can also be used as free burial/recycling site since the toxins in water are likely to dissolve any organic tissue.
  • New artificial mountains of waste dump: free of vegetation, therefore easily accessible viewing points for potential tourists
  • Open pits and quarries: free dumping sites for any unwanted goods
  • New streams of polluted discharged toxins: will help keep away unwanted wildlife and humans
  • Explosive storage facility (dynamite): to celebrate local holidays and festivals

To further help the local people of Rosia Montana assistance will also be provided with:

  • Free relocation for locals that were stupid enough not to sell their lands to the mining company
  • Complimentary prison terms to all that choose to stay on their own lands
  • Acts of random violence by the authorities and mining company are permitted but only if the blood of opponents does not STAIN the gold in the ground

And a great ending from the actual mining environmental impact study, page 33: “In conclusion, following the reclamation and re-vegetation activities, the landscape value will increase due to vegetation restoration, mine pit flooding and creation of man-made lakes on the Project site.”

Eugen David, the local campaign leader says there is no solution for the mining company if any of his band cannot be persuaded. “If people don’t sell, the project cannot start,” he says. “They will have to come here with arms and bulldozers to get us out.” Step in the Romanian government… Eugen, you shouldn’t have said THAT, because that’s exactly what they will do to you. Next month, when you will see the bulldozers over the hill, please don’t be a modern day Decebal, just keep on fighting! Either way, it’s not going to be easy for you: the miners want your head and the environmentalists need a hero.

Eugen today is Romania. This is already a wounded animal but not a dead one. The mining company knows that one strike to the heart it’s all that it needs. The government already looked inside its corrupt soul and spawned a knife soiled with cyanide to kill off its own body. The animal is ready to fight back… what happens next will determine if Romania survives as a country.


Pictures from the London protest on 1st September 2013:

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