Romanian mining land now a world heritage site
For two decades the residents' initiative Save Roșia Montană has been fighting against the mining company Gabriel Resources, which wants to mine local gold deposits estimated at around 300 tonnes - the largest in Europe - and is also pushing for resettlement. Now Unesco has decided to add the ancient Roman mining tunnels in Roșia Montană to the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Civil society has won
Neuroscientist Raul C. Muresan, who worked with the World Heritage campaign, writes jubilantly on Spotmedia:
“In the end I'm convinced that the inclusion of Roșia Montană on the list of World Heritage sites will trigger a massive influx of capital in the coming years, both from the public sector through national and European funds and from the private sector. ... For civil society, the inclusion on the World Heritage List is a huge success. After a struggle lasting almost 20 years with a company that bought the press, politicians and institutions in a package deal; after a struggle with a corrupt and incompetent political class, the Save Roșia Montană campaign has won!”
Celebrate and continue the effort
Mihai Goțiu, the former MP of the conservative anti-corruption party USR, who also campaigned for Roșia Montană for years, voices his delight in România Curată:
“Inclusion in Unesco was one of the main demands of the widespread protests in the Romanian Autumn (September to December 2013) and later remained on the agenda of the civic body. Certainly, the inclusion of Roșia Montană on the World Heritage List will not resolve the problem of the communities in the Apuseni Mountains [where the former mining landscape is located] and in Romania from one day to the next. In the coming years, at least as much energy and commitment is needed to make the most of the Unesco status for the benefit of local communities and Romania. There is still a lot of work to do!”