No community consent for exploration drilling in Deva-Muncel and Brad

29/01/2014 3271 views

29th of January 2014 – More and more communities throughout Romania, with gold-silver and polymetallic deposits in their underground are targeted by destructive mining projects. In the absence of prior consent or consultation of residents, a mining company registered in a tax haven enjoys the endorsement of authorities to conduct drilling near Deva and Brad, two towns in Romania. These operations of prospecting and exploration drilling are just the initial phases of a type of industrial development that impoverishes local communities and destroys their chance to have a sustainable future. According to the Environmental Protection Agency in Deva, none of the drilling needed an environmental impact assessment.

The mining company European Goldfields Deva Ltd., a subsidiary of Eldorado Gold, owner of the Certej project conducts exploration drilling in the vicinity of the town of Deva. Deva-Muncel is an area totaling 32 sq. km. and is located within the territory of the municipalities of Veţel and Deva. The area close to the villages of Muncelul Mic and Muncelul Mare is known for its deposits of lead, zinc, copper, gold and silver.

In January 2013, European Goldfields Deva SRL obtained from the National Agency for Mineral Resources three exploration licenses [1]. They were granted following a procedure that totally lacks transparency, although civil society asked repeatedly for the adoption of a strategy of public consultation right at the stage of licensing the exploration or exploitation. Thus, the public is deprived of accurate and independent information sources on the impact of these projects. The negotiations between the Romanian state and the mining companies that produce these concession licenses for exploration or exploitation remain secret despite numerous suspicions of corruption and conflict of interests of those who manage the common goods.

The reports issued by the local media show that drilling is done in the immediate vecinity of a residential area situated on Aurel Vlaicu Street, on private property. Furios with the groundwater pollution in the Valea Craiesei area along with permanent traffic of heavy machinery and road depreciation, dozens of citizens showed up at a City Council meeting in Deva.

In their presence and ignoring comments and requests, including the ones mentioning that drilling is done across the street from the Zănoaga Hill protected area, the local councilors voted to allow the mining company to expand drillings into new areas of the city that are also public property. Prior to the vote, a mining company representative pleaded before councilors for new drilling permits, while the citizens were denied the right to speak. After more than two hours after the Council cast their vote, the citizens were invited to express their concerns. The Urbanism Manager of Deva was the first one that downsized the seriousness of the problems listed by the residents of Aurel Vlaicu street, stating that “the company obtained an urbanism certificate so people rest reassured that everything is ok”. Then, the Mayor Peter Mărginean instructed the checking of the heavy traffic impact on houses and cynically declared: “Maybe they will find uranium and they will move us all to Vienna”. Shortly after the Local Council meeting, the mining company moved its equipment to another inhabited are in Deva, new drills being expected to start soon.

Mining Watch Romania Deva calls for local authorities to respond immediately to public inquires in order to clarify the permitting state of the exploration drilling taking place in Deva and calls for the immediate publication of all information on permits and agreements issued by the Local Council regarding the above mentioned mining project. Mining Watch Romania will monitor, along with the Deva residents impacted by the drillings, the legality of the proceedings of the local authorities and will challenge in court any infringements observed.

For more information please contact Roxana Pencea, mobil:(+40) 0723024300, email: contact@miningwatch.ro

[1] No. 15995 and 15996 for Deva Muncel and No. 15997 for Brad

Foto credit: Daniel Ghiță, Adevărul