February 2nd, Romania – The Hunedoara County Prefecture announced that it has taken legal action to annul the building permit for the site organization of the Certej mining project. It took more than 90 days and countless public inquiries until the relevant authorities inspected compliance with regulatory norms and issued their verdict.
The extensive number of petitions registered at the Prefecture determined the institution’s action for annulment in court. The National Construction Authority (ISC) has recently found that the building permit for construction works was issued in breach of legal provisions and was referred to the Prefecture for cancellation. Mining Watch Romania network decided to intervene as an interested party in the existing lawsuit.
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 several 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.
Suspicions of illegality occurred in mid-October last year when it was found that the Deva Gold, a subsidiary of the Eldorado Gold, started works in the old quarry of the gold mine in Certej. Construction site billboards were not displayed and the mayor refused to provide information on the building permits. Mining Watch Romania demanded that the works undertaken by the mining company were stopped immediately up until the situation was clarified.
Several untruths have been identified, which were tackled by stakeholders in the approval process:
#1. On October 2014, the mayor Petru Cimpian announced to the press the opening of the construction works for the industrial platform of the Certej mine. Four days later, City Hall officials issued a written statement that no permit has been granted for these works.
#2. The National Environmental Guard conducted an inspection of the Certej site. The control did not notice any violation of the law, the institution issuing a press release meant to divert attention from the irregularities in the permitting process.
#3. The Mayor Petru Cimpian repeatedly argued that the institution he leads lawfully issued permits for the mine operator Deva Gold.
#4. The same mayor invited media and civil society representatives to the city hall so they could consult the authorization documentation. However he declined to allow the visualization of permits once Mining Watch members arrived.
#5. The construction works were stopped because successive irregularities were documented. However, the mayor mentioned as reason the sudden appearance of springs. “The authorization from September is only for utilities and site organization. Moreover the works were stopped due to technical problems encountered with some water springs”.
“If the site organization, a simple construction work, began with such illegalities, we cannot even imagine what would happen once the same company would start handling over 1,650 tons of cyanide annually, under the supervision of these same authorities. Deva Gold received the environmental permit without having the project ensured for mining accident as required by law and international practice. At the same time, the local authorities of Certej resumed the authorization procedure without taking responsibility for current illegalities and continuing to show an excessive willingness to serve Deva Gold”, said Tudor Brădăţan, member of Mining Watch Romania.
For more information please contact Tudor Brădățan, mobile +40(0)745370524, email firstname.lastname@example.org/mwatch