Leave it in the ground: the gold of Roșia Montană

September 11, 2013

But now concerning, and chiefly in this our age, the ungodly and accursed gold-making, which hath gotten so much the upper hand, whereby under colour of it, many runagates and roguish people do use great villanies and cozen and abuse the credit which is given them; yea, now adays men of discretion do hold the transmutation of metals to be the highest point and fastigium in philosophy. This is all their intent and desire, and that God would be most esteemed by them, and honoured which could make great store of gold, the which with unpremeditate prayers they hope to attain of the allknowing God and searcher of all hearts; but we by these presents publickly testifie, that the true philosophers are far of another minde, esteeming little the making of gold, which is but a paragon, for besides that they have a thousand better things.

Fama Fraternitatis 1614


What threatened to be Europe’s largest gold-mining venture, a giant open-cast mine at Roșia Montană in Romania, has apparently been abandoned by the government after nightly protests in the capital, Bucharest. I found out the good news here. I sincerely hope this destructive project remains blocked, notwithstanding the legal action now being threatened by Gabriel Resources Ltd, the Canadian company behind the application to blast away and poison villages, the river Roșia, local heritage and any quality of life, in the name of that great fetish, economic growth – more here. The struggle against mining at Roșia Montană ranks alongside the battle against the British firm, Vedanta, which wants to mine for bauxite in the Niyamgiri Hills, an area sacred to and vital to the way of life of the Dongria-Kondh tribe in Orissa province, India. Again, here there are promising developments in the struggle against this destructive economic development.


I can’t resist finishing this post on Roșia Montană without an appreciative nod to the memory of Franklin Rosemont (1943 – 2009) poet, artist, activist and co-founder of the Chicago Surrealist Group. It seems he and Penelope Rosemont also had a role in, at least, popularising the anti-war slogan, ‘Make Love Not War’ – see here.

***Update 14/10/2013… While the Romanian government is hesitant about allowing the project to go ahead (and faces the threat of being sued for $4 billion by Gabriel Resources over its hesitancy), this destructive project has not been stopped and protests are continuing, as this report shows: http://www.mining.com/fresh-protests-erupt-over-europes-largest-gold-project-80611/?

“The company proposes four gold quarries with the potential to produce 500,000 ounces of gold per year over the mine’s lifespan, which would destroy four mountaintops and wipe out three villages of the 16 that make up Rosia Montana.”

Leave it in the ground…




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