Mining Watch România challenges the illegal revisal of the environmental permit for the Certej gold mine proposal

14/10/2013 3284 views

14 October 2013 – The decision to revise the environmental permit no 8 of 5th July 2012 issued by the Regional Environmental Protection Agency in Timisoara for the cyanide-based gold mine proposal at Certej is unmotivated and lacks legal grounds. 4 NGOs actively involved in monitoring and campaigning against illegal large scale mining proposals – the Independent Center for the Development of Environmental Resources, the Save Bucharest Association, the Butterfly Effect Association and the Green Transylvania Association – alongside numerous citizens from the area directly affected by the Certej gold mine proposal today submitted a contestation at the Hunedoara Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against the announced decision to revise the environmental permit for the Certej mine.

The revisal decided by the Hunedoara EPA only comes to confirm that the initial environmental permit no 8 of 5th July 2012 has been illegally issued. The documentation currently requested by EPA from the project owner in order to revise the environmental permit should have been at the base of the initial environmental permit. What is more, the initial environmental permit is currently challenged in court by the Ministry for the Environment, a case pending at the Bucharest Tribunal and in which the Independent Center for the Development of Environmental Resources and the Save Bucharest Association intervened as parties.

Environmental permits maybe revised in case projects already approved go through significant modifications. However, the revisal under discussion is not occasioned by such modifications, but is a process that aims at supplying gaps in the initial documentation submitted by the project owner. As such, the aim is to cover and write out a defective documentation that should have been rejected by the competent authority and not accepted for the issuing of the environmental permit.

The revisal was decided based on the fact that the Certej gold mine proposal partially covers the surface of a NATURA 2000 site – ROSPA 0132 Muntii Metaliferi. However, this reality was known ever since the initial environmental permit was issued, as the environmental permit itself mentions „The mining project’s footprint covers 108,7 hectares of the NATURA 2000 site ROSPA 0132 Muntii Metaliferi, on the Măcrișului River valley. This surface represents almost 0,4% from the entire surface of the site, which totals 26 671 hectares. The NATURA 2000 site ROSPA 0132 Muntii Metaliferi has been designated in 2011”.

The obligation to undertake an appropriate assessment of the project’s implications for the site is stipulated by the Emergency Ordinance no 57 of 20 June 2007 on the regime of protected natural areas, the preservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna, Article 28 according to whichAny plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site’s conservation objectives”. The Certej project owner has not fulfilled the obligation to undertake such assessment before obtaining the environmental permit no 8 of 5th July 2012.

 „What strikes us again is the obvious attitude from the part of state authorities to foster the interests of mining companies. These authorities function as licensing offices for mining projects, fabricating all kinds of solutions to legalize illegal mining projects. A quarter of the Certej gold mine proposal surface covers a NATURA 2000 site and this project received the environmental permit although no where is assessed the impact of blasting and cyanide on this site of Community interest”, declared Ştefania Simion, legal coordinator for Mining Watch Romania.

For more details please contact: Ştefania Simion, +40741137266 or at office@centrumediu.ro