19 July 2024

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Mining Watch Romania calls for the suspension of the Roșia Montană exploitation license

Mining Watch Romania has initiated legal proceedings requesting the suspension of the Roșia Montană Gold Corporation (RMGC) exploitation license. License 47/1999 was extended in 2019 and expires in June 2024. In March 2024 RMGC filed for a renewed extension.

After the decision of the Washington Tribunal, we should have been relieved that Roșia Montană was saved. Yet RMGC still insists on a further extension of its exploitation license. Therefore, if it’s not suspended, we risk that Romania’s Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR) will grant it in June,” explains Roxana Pencea Brădățan from Mining Watch Romania.

In 1999 a license covering Roșia Montană was issued to the state-owned company Minvest without any bidding procedure. A year later, it was transferred, again without an auction, to Roșia Montană Gold Corporation (formerly Euro Gold Resources).

Renewing the exploitation license would perpetuate illegalities and continue to undermine any local development initiatives by only allowing mining activities.

The court action was initiated by members of Mining Watch Romania and submitted to the Cluj Court of Appeal. It summons RMGC and NAMR and requests the court to suspend all administrative acts that extended the license in 2019 and to block the current procedure for a renewed extension.

The case was registered at the Cluj Court of Appeal with file number 394/33/2024. It will have its first hearing on 9 May 2024.

An extension of this license could irreparably damage Rosia Montana’s unique Roman, medieval, and modern mining heritage and could block any restoration initiatives due to the conflict between the mining license and the UNESCO status,” adds Roxana Pencea Brădățan.

In its call to action Mining Watch Romania invokes two main reasons for which the license needs to be suspended.

Firstly, the extension was “approved” by an incompetent authority, namely ANRM. The lack of the required Government Decision approving the extension means that from a legal point of view, the extension never existed. Essentially, the acts challenged never came into force.

Secondly, more than 210 days passed since the 2019 extension was issued but no mining activity has started. In such a situation Mining Law No. 85/2003 calls for the mining license to be revoked.

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About Mining Watch Romania: Mining Watch Romania is a network of activists and non-governmental organizations working to protect and preserve Romania’s natural and cultural heritage. We dedicate our efforts to making sure that natural resources are managed sustainably and responsibly and will prioritize the well-being of local communities and the natural environment.

The court action was initiated by the Independent Center for the Development of Environmental Resources, an organization that acts as secretariat for Mining Watch Romania.

The legal costs for the court case are covered by donations from members of Declic, an association that is part of Mining Watch Romania.

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