November 27th, 2013 – The Hunedoara Environmental Protection Agency issued yesterday a new environmental permit for the Certej mining project. The new act illegally substitutes and reviews the environmental agreement issued by the Timisoara Regional Environmental Protection Agency last year. Permit number 8/05.07.2012 was even brought to court by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change which asked for its annulment. Not surprisingly however, yesterday the Ministry cancelled its claims to annul the environmental permit issued in 2012, a court case judged by the Bucharest Tribunal.
The project owner, Deva Gold SA, has obtained in the summer of 2012 the first environmental agreement, enabling the company to start the cyanide-based operations in the town of Certeju de Sus. Following steps taken by the civil society, minister Rovana Plumb declared that the Ministry has not been notified when the permit had been issued, and that she considered it to be irresponsible and illegal act: ‘It is illegal because it violates the Romanian and European legislation’. Mining Watch Romania repeatedly reported that the Ministry neglected the Certej court case, the environmental authorities delaying turn after turn the hearings until yesterday’s final withdrawal of the pending court action.
The environmental permit can be reviewed under the present law, provided that significant changes are made to the already approved project. In the case of the Certej environmental permit reissue, the procedure consisted in filling in the incomplete documentation upon which the old permit was issued in 2012. On November 12, the Hunedoara Enviroment Protection Agency announced the decision taken by the Technical Review Committee to issue a new permit once new secuirty and biodiversity studies had been submitted. The concerned public could submit comments and contestations until Novermber 25 and upon their assesment, CAT members would issue a new environmental permit. However, though the Certej gold mining project is calssified as ‘ major risk’, the APM Hunedoara issued after just one-day evaluation of the public contestations a new environmental permit.
‘The Romanian Ministry of the Environment mimics a correct procedure for the environmental impact assessment regarding the cyanide-based Certej mining project and its major risks to the safety of the region. Through its subordinated agencies, the ministry wants to conceal the true nature of the recent issued permit, that the USL government’s political will is to reopen at any costs gold mining operations in the Apuseni Mountains’, stated Roxana Pencea from Mining Watch Romania.
‘We will challenge in court the legality of the recent approved environmental permit for Certej and we will notify the European Commission of this serious threat that poses to a Natura 2000 site’, said Stefania Simion, legal coordinator Mining Watch Romania.
For additional information please contact Roxana Pencea, Phone: +40723024300, firstname.lastname@example.org