November 28th, 2014 – Romanian state authorities prove once again their inability to sanction the mining operator Deva Gold SA, the company carrying out illegal building works to start the first cyanide based gold mining project in Romania. Both local authorities – the City Hall, and the regional ones – The State Inspectorate for Constructions failed to examine the legality of the permits.
The Certej deposit is owned by Deva Gold S.A., a joint venture between Eldorado Gold (80%) and state-owned Minvest Deva (~20%). The Canadian low-cost gold producer Eldorado Gold (TXS: ELD) tries to operate three open pit mines (Certej, Băița-Crăciunești, Deva) that are facing both local and national opposition. Romanian NGOs assessing the mining project have already identified significant irregularities in the environmental permitting procedure and started a court case this summer to annul the certificate.
Mining Watch Romania submitted complaints to the local and regional institutions mentioned above. Both dodged the official requests. More to this, the mayor Petru Cimpian intensely defended in the media the starting of the mining project and ignored the legal procedures that demanded his immediate action once he was notified. Starting October 2014, a series of ping-pong actions revealed the authorities’ inefficiency, construction works at the mine continuing to be conducted in Certej. The climax was attained when the mayor Cimpian refused to hand out the authorization documents to Mining Watch Romania, though he previously pleaded for transparency and invited media and civil society at the city hall.
‘We are facing an intentional delay by the refusal of authorities to check the legality of documents authorizing works in Certej. The responsible institutions, although they have duties in observing the discipline in the execution of construction works, evade the law, passing the responsibility from one to the other. Clearly, there is an obvious intent to prevent civil society from monitoring and assessing the legality of this new mining project’, commented Ștefania Simon, legal coordinator of the Mining Watch Romania network.
In light of this situation, Mining Watch Romania launched a petition to President-elect Klaus Iohannis asking him to respect the law:
‘Mayor Cîmpian’s attitude – with his lack of institutional transparency and the whitewashing of abuses – should be subject to political sanctions, being just as corrosive for the rule of law as corruption deeds and conflicts of interest. Mr. President-elect, your position as leader of PNL (the National Liberal Party) enables you to act according to the values and principles undertaken by you during the election campaign for compliance with laws in the case of Certej’, excerpt from the petition text.
In just four days after the petition was launched, over 8,000 people have signed it. President-elect Klaus Iohannis posted on his Facebook page :
«Thousands of Romanians wrote to me asking for help in order to clarify the legal conditions under which the Certej mining project in Hunedoara County started. Today, my collaborators got in contact with the City Hall in Certeju de Sus in order to analyze the documents referred to by the citizens. I will keep you informed regarding this issue. If Romania is to be the country where things get done in a proper manner, then this means that there must be room for respect in when institutions interact with the citizens».
For more information please contact Tudor Brădățan, mobile +40(0)745-370524, email firstname.lastname@example.org/mwatch