Romanian Academy: Romania's underground gold reserve, national strategic resource

Publish date: 12-02-2010
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Romania's underground gold reserve represents a non-renewable resource of national strategic importance, property of the Romanian state, and its fate cannot be decided by the local authorities alone, says the Romanian Academy in a release referring to the project of gold exploitation in Apuseni Mountains.

According to the quoted source, the Romanian Academy Presidium Office appreciates that the decision on the opportunity to exploit the gold resources should be taken into consideration based on consulting the entire country's population, eventually through a national referendum.

In the context of the 'current controversy stirred by Rosia Montana project, the Romanian Academy considers that, beyond the objections formulated in its previously published declaration (last year - editor's note), some economic aspects have to be highlighted'.

'We stress that in the international practice (especially oil exploitation, but also of minerals, including gold) the so-called Production Sharing Agreement must be used to a larger extent, more favorable to the state than by the planned leasing (which generates just 2 percent in direct royalty-derived revenues, the remainder being indirect revenues resulting from taxes and customs). According to this agreement type, after covering the investment and operation spending, the production is divided between the state and the investor (the state getting up to 80 percent and the company - 20 percent). Under these conditions it would mean that a good (negotiated) portion of the resulting gold would be transferred into the Romanian state's property!', said the Academy in its release.

Under these conditions, 'the Romanian Academy appreciates that the gold exploitation in Apuseni Mountains might be taken into consideration in accordance with the following conditions: If exploitation would be in galleries and not an open quarry. This would avoid environment mutilation, population relocation, destruction of the village and of the archaeological vestiges etc. If the relationship between state and investor would rely on the Production Sharing Agreement, and not on leasing. If, instead of a cyanide-based technology, a technology free of cyanide would be used. There are at present such technologies, still less used, but imperative in the case of densely populated areas'.

Referring to Rosia Montana project, the Romanian Academy drew attention last year on what it views to be 'an error with negative effects on the community, environment and archaeological vestiges in the zone', signaling the 'risky consequences for the Romanian state'.

'An analysis objectively conducted proves that the project does not represent a public interest work and, consequently, does not justify the negative collateral effects and risks involved by this project', underlined the Romanian Academy declaration, Agerpres reports.

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