In September I wrote about Gold fever in Romania and the conflict around the gold mine project in Roșia Montană.
This open mine project would destroy villages and mountain tops, leave a lake of cyanide behind, and destroy 2000 year old gold mine galleries from the Roman era. Imagine to erase the past and disable the future in one go, that’s pretty efficient. And oh, did I mention, most of the profit would flow out of the country anyway.
Since I wrote about it, people have continued to protest across Romania and across the world. Yesterday (10 December) was a crucial day: The Romanian Parliament discussed a new mining law, that – if approved – would allow the Canadian mining company to start exploiting. This would mean the end for Roșia Montană.
End of the day, news reached us that the parliament did NOT approve this new law.
Here are some related updates on the campaign website:
The new mining law is dead – long live Rosia Montana!
Gabriel Resources loses crucial parliamentary vote (of confidence)
Not everyone will be happy with this. Mine workers and others who had hoped for job opportunities in the region will be disappointed. All respect for that, there are always two sides to a coin.
But this is a huge victory for civil society in Romania, a young and still fragile democracy. Civil society, that is how we often refer to people who organise themselves to make things better. As I’ve followed the conflict of Roșia Montană I’ve learned that behind this rather broad tag “civil society” you find real people, passionate and fierce, dead serious about their rights (and rightly so).
This time, they won. Roșia Montană, you are safe, for now. I hope you stay safe and will thrive, in your very own ways.
Who knows, perhaps I’ll walk those Roman mine galleries one day. I’d really love to!