The Controversial Roșia Montană Gold Mining Project: A History of Political Support and Secrecy
In 2006, the media reported that representatives of the National Mineral Resources Agency (ANRM) insisted on keeping the mining license issued to the Canadian company Gabriel Resources a secret from the very beginning. Furthermore, the classification of information contained in the exploitation license was regulated by an order signed by Mihail Ianăș, the president of ANMR at that time.
The mining exploitation in Alba County became a topic of interest in 1999. The foundation for the plans of Gabriel Resources, the Canadian company, lies in the exploitation license number 47/1999. The document was officially endorsed through a Government resolution signed by Radu Berceanu, who was the Minister of Industry and Commerce at that time, Mihail Ianăș, the head of ANMR, and the former Minister of Finance, Decebal Traian Remeș.
During Berceanu’s term, in October 2000, the exploitation license was transferred to Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, with majority shareholder being a company controlled by Frank Timiș. At that moment, the Romanian state lost control over the gold mining project. With the letter signed by Berceanu, the businessman Frank Timiș managed to sell the business to a series of Canadian investors.
The history of the Rosia Montana project demonstrates that it had the support of important leaders within the Democratic Party (PD). In addition to the approval of the license by Radu Berceanu in 2004, Traian Băsescu, who was just a presidential candidate at that time, expressed his support for the project. Ianăș, on the other hand, is believed to have acted as a bridge between the PD and Frank Timiș, the mastermind behind the mining business in Rosia Montana. After signing the concession license for gold exploitation, Ianăș became the representative in Romania for one of Frank Timiș’s companies.
This controversial gold mining project in Rosia Montana has been marred by accusations of political support and secrecy since its inception. The revelation that ANRM representatives pushed for the license to remain secret raises questions about the transparency and fairness of the process. The transfer of the exploitation license to Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, ultimately leading to the loss of state control, further adds to the controversy surrounding the project.
The involvement of influential leaders such as Radu Berceanu and Traian Băsescu highlights the political dynamics at play in the support for the project. The role of Mihail Ianăș as a key figure connecting the PD and Frank Timiș raises concerns about potential conflicts of interest and backroom deals. It is crucial for the public to understand the motivations and consequences of these political connections.
Proponents of the Roșia Montană gold mining project argue that it would bring economic benefits, job opportunities, and investments to the region. However, critics raise concerns about the potential environmental damage and the impact on the local community. The project has faced significant opposition from environmental groups, cultural heritage advocates, and local residents who fear the destruction of the historic town and its surroundings.
As the debate over the Roșia Montană gold mining project continues, it is crucial for the Romanian government and relevant authorities to prioritize transparency, public participation, and a thorough assessment of environmental and cultural impacts. The fate of this project will not only shape the future of Rosia Montana but also serve as a precedent for how Romania balances economic development and environmental preservation.