Many of you are probably aware of the current protests in Romania
against the government's support for a plan to open Europe's biggest
open-cast gold mine in the small Carpathian town of Rosia Montana. I
asked my friend in Romania, what is the gripe? He tells me the risks
are not comparable to any other. The mining company plans to use
13.000 tons of cyanide per year. This will lead to the excavation of
500 million tons of tailings. Intervention will be done on a
perimeter of 12 hectares which will effectively erase 4 mountains and
will dig a depth of 400 meters, and to cap it off they will be left
with a lake (215 million cubic meters) of cyanide and a dam that will
have to be maintained forever. The U. S. Environmental Agency has
estimated maintenance on this dam to be about 2.6 billion dollars.
The Canadian-owned company will provide 150 million eros towards the
I'm also told that the operation is done on the surface and not in
galleries as it has been done In Romania before. This has the
highest environmental impact and is the cheapest way of extracting
the gold. This leaves the community almost completely destroyed,
offers a few hundred jobs for a specified period (very few for
locals), and gives the Romanian State a 6% royalty (some reports say
Romania will get 75% of the benefit but no one seems to believe that
or is able to show how).
I personally claim no expertise on the subject, but thought some of
you jewelers that have spent your life in the industry might have
If they only want to use the cheapest and most dangerous method of
extracting the gold with cyanide now, (while gold is still so high),
then this means that there isn't really enough gold per yard to be
worth extracting. Sounds like an unbelievable amount of trouble for
some gold. 2.6 billion in environmental cleanup maintenance and cost?
Why don't they just invest in mining asteroids. It might be cheaper.