Demand that Romanian Prime Minister Cancel Environmentally Dangerous Mining Project

Ruins of Alburnus Maior,  a Roman-era mining town, in Rosia Montana

Target: Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania

Goal: Demand that Romanian Prime Minister cancel environmentally dangerous mining project

The Romanian people have recently shown their concern for the environment by coming together in large numbers to protest a gold mining project in the surroundings of Rosia Montana, a town situated on the Carpathian Mountains in the country’s north. The protesters have many reservations about the project, not the least of which is the potential danger of cyanide leakage. The same cyanide extraction process that is proposed for Rosia Montana has caused significant environmental damage when last used in the Romanian city of Baia Mare in 2000.

Back then the cyanide wastewater leaked out into the Danube and four other nearby rivers as the dam that was supposed to act as an insulator burst. The effects on the river ecosystem were absolutely horrendous; as the cyanide traveled down the Danube river all the way to the Black Sea, it managed to devastate the river life in a disaster with a catastrophic impact that has been compared to that of Chernobyl.  As the current mining process entails yet again the construction of such a poisonous lake with a protective dam, Romanians are aware that history could repeat itself. That is why they have passionately taken to the streets to protect their country from the risk of yet another environmental catastrophe.

But even if none of that environmental damage were to happen, the mining project would still cause the destruction of a historically rich and scenic community and the displacement of the local population. The places that are so special to many of the residents — including churches and graveyards — would have to be replaced by an area completely dedicated to mining operations. The four mountains that majestically crown the skyline and offer scenic hikes would have to be leveled as well. And a precious reminder of a long-bygone era would equally vanish. The Roman Empire may be in the distant past but tourists to Rosia Montana can travel back in time to witness what the Romans have left behind. Their civilization’s artifacts have survived the ravages of time and remain preserved up to this day in the mining galleries that they had constructed.

Sign this petition to urge the Prime Minister of Romania to cancel the gold-mining project in order to prevent a potential environmental disaster and preserve the living community and the natural and historical riches of the Rosia Montana area.


Dear Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania,

Romanian protesters demonstrated their wisdom when raising their concerns about the environmental costs of the proposed gold mining project. The dangerous chemical used to extract the gold has already once proven its toxic impact on the environment. In light of the fact that the cyanide wastewater lake had leaked into the Danube river in 2000 and poisoned its river life, we cannot blame Romanians for wanting the government to exercise caution by avoiding the risk of a repeated leak. Please heed their advice and take the environmental dangers of cyanide seriously. That is reason enough to not go ahead with the gold extraction process.

But yet another reason is just as important: the preservation of the Rosia Montana as a living community and a natural site. The many people who are rooted to the area that is home to their family, neighbors, places of worship, and harbors the precious graves of their ancestors would lose all that if everything were to be demolished to make room for the mining operations. Uprooting the village residents and forcing them to forever abandon the neighborhoods where they grew up is taking away from them what is near and dear — their homes, their memories, their way of life and sense of belonging.

But it’s not only the displaced residents who would lose out — the whole country as well as tourists would lose a place renowned for the beauty of its nature and its historical artifacts. The chance to descend into the depths of the galleries to discover the Roman past or to scale the heights when hiking in the scenic mountains would no longer be there — the mining project plans to level the mountains and destroy the Roman galleries. The underground and mountain treasures as well as a living community are too much to trade for a short-term profit. We ask you to cancel the mining project in order to preserve all the riches the Rosia Montana area has to offer.

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Daniel Tara via Wikimedia Commons

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