Update from Alburnus Maior
Str. Berk 361 517 615 Rosia Montana
Alba County Romania .
Tel/ Fax: +40 (0) 258 859 328 Mobile: +40 (0) 740 342 104
Alburnus Maior is an NGO based in Rosia Montana. It represents the interests of over 250 families from Rosia Montana and 100 families from Bucium. Local property owners opposing the involuntary resettlement that Gabriel's project entails founded this association in September 2000. Alburnus Maior objects to Gabriel Resources' Rosia Montana mining proposal on social, environmental, cultural and economic grounds.
The report's contents:
- The Rosia Montana mining project's main impacts and risks
- Civil society opposition to the project
- Update on the EIA procedure for the Rosia Montana mining project
- Strategic Litigation Victories related to the Rosia Montana mine proposal
- Development alternatives implemented and proposed for the Rosia Montana area
The Rosia Montana mining project's main impacts, risks and uncertainties:
General information about Gabriel Resources and the mine proposal
Gabriel Resources Ltd. ('Gabriel') formed Rosia Montana Gold Corporation S.A. (RMGC), a Romanian incorporated company that holds the exploration concession title to the Rosia Montana project. Through a joint venture agreement, the state-owned enterprise, Minvest S.A., holds a 19.3 percent interest in RMGC. Other investors collectively hold 0.7 percent, and Gabriel Resources, Ltd. has an 80 percent interest with preemptive rights to the other 20 percent.
Plans for the 13Mt per annum mine project call for the densely inhabited valley of Rosia Montana to be turned into four open pit mines (totaling 722 hectares), while the neighboring, equally inhabited Corna Valley would be converted into an unlined tailings pond covering an additional surface of 600-hectares. Gabriel intends to employ the cyanide leaching method meaning that the tailings or heavy metal sludge will contain cyanide. The development would be situated along the so-called Aries River, which eventually flows into the Danube river; thus putting at risk neighboring countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Ukraine; this especially in the event of an accident. The Aries River is the most important water source of the region.
Gabriel Resources Ltd is a small, under-resourced and inexperienced Canadian mining company. It was incorporated in 1997 for the Rosia Montana project, which was reportedly passed over by numerous mining companies. The project was initially scheduled to commence ore commissioning in May 2004. To date there exist no definite feasibility study, no environmental impact assessment (the EIA was originally scheduled for submission in October 2002) and Gabriel's difficulty in securing permits has added to considerable delays. There are concerns regarding the volatility of Gabriel Resources management team. In general such issues can provoke delays and instability. Since 2002, management changed three times; the most recent dating August 2005.
In order to develop the Rosia Montana mine, Gabriel must acquire all necessary surface rights, which include the resettlement and relocation of a total of 2150 property owners. Gabriel is encountering considerable opposition from property owners, which whilst adding to delays, are likely to never be resolved at all. This is indicated by the stagnation of Gabriel's resettlement and relocation program. The company's Second Quarter Project Update dated August 28, 2003 states that it had acquired "more than 30% of all necessary residential properties". The figure at the moment is at 42%.
The Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Unitarian Churches count amongst Rosia Montana's largest landowners in terms of surface. Their refusal to surrender their properties to Gabriel Resources is official and definite.
The involuntary resettlement/relocation of people refusing to sell their properties risks implicating the Romanian State with cases at Strasbourg's European Court for Human Rights. This could have implications, which at present have not been sufficiently evaluated. According to Romania's Constitution; Art 44(2) "the private property is guaranteed and protected by law, (3) No one can be expropriated except for a cause of public utility." Gabriel's Rosia Montana project is a private mining operation and thus does not constitute a public utility.
Gabriel had been in talks with the World Bank Group to secure 25 percent of the total funds for the project--$100 million--through the International Finance Corporation (IF), the private sector arm of the World Bank. In early October 2002, the IFC announced that it would not financially support the project. According to Bloomberg News, the IFC was concerned about the lack of planned pollution controls, revenue management, and the relocation of hundreds of residents. IFC Spokesperson Corrie Shanahan explained that "there were significant environmental and social issues connected with the project."
EU authorities are closely monitoring Rosia Montana with the European Parliament and the European Parliament's Committee for the Environment (EPCE) having made visits to Rosia Montana. In December 2003, Marie Isler-Béguin, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and part of the EPCE's fact-finding mission to Rosia Montana (lead by MEP Jonas Sjöstedt) said the following: "The EU Commission has the responsibility to ask the Romanian government to clearly commit itself to the enforcement of the laws with regards to the environment." [...] "The population here would like to stay and I am under the impression that a foreign company is hindering the functioning of local democracy," she concluded.
The European Parliament's Country Report on Romania from March 2004 "draws attention in particular to the planned gold-mining project in Rosia Montana and demands that environmental impact assessments be carefully conducted to evaluate the risks involved; notably as regards potential cyanide contamination and rehabilitation after closure...(36)" and "expects projects initiated by the Romanian authorities before accession not to prejudge the effectiveness of EU environmental legislation upon Romania's accession to the EU (37)." Alburnus Maior; January 2006 2
The European Parliament's latest resolution regarding the Rosia Montana mine development reads as follows: According to Art. 41 Parliament "expresses its deep concern about the long transitional periods agreed regarding the environment chapter, particularly as regards the Rosia Montana mine development, which poses a serious environmental threat to the whole region." (Country Report, December 2004)
In June 2004, the Hungarian Minister for the Environment and Water declared: "The Hungarian government would be glad not to see this investment go ahead; because this is how all the risks would be completely eliminated." In autumn 2005, the Hungarian Government making its strongest statement ever against Gabriel's Rosia Montana mine development According to the Romanian daily newspaper 'Cotidianul', Miklos Persanyi declared the following during an official visit to Bucharest in October 2005: "It is of the highest priority for the Hungarian Government that the Rosia Montana gold mine investment is never realized. This is how one would be able to prevent pollution risks. The Rosia Montana project given its sheer size could not only affect the immediate area, but, in the event of a spill, would also affect the Tisa Basin [...]."
Open cast mining at four pits and the construction of a tailings pond with a 180 meter high dam will seriously mutilate the region's landscape and contradicts European legislation (for example the European Landscape Convention ratified by Romania with law 451/2002; as well as EU directives No. 85/337/CC, 2001/42/CEE, 80/68/CEE, 94/43/EEC).
Gabriel's development will destroy the archaeological zone of Alburnus Maior (Rosia Montana's Roman name), Romania's oldest documented mining settlement. It is of great cultural value and has a unique character. The mining development thus contravenes the Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted at UNESCO's General Assembly on 16. November 1972 - transcribed into Romanian law with decree 187/1990; Governmental Order Nr. 43 dated January 30, 2000 regarding the protection of archaeological patrimony as well as National Law 5/2000 which declared Rosia Montana a protected zone of national interest.
Recent archeological excavations at Rosia Montana have brought to light unique archeological treasures such as fortified buildings, thermae, a circular mausoleum and mine galleries dating from Roman and Pre-Roman times. According to the team of French mining archaeologists who have been excavating the galleries at Rosia Montana since 2000: "in Carnic, antique mining networks (from Dacian times, identified as such for the first time, and from Roman times as well) remain of a striking coherence and in a remarkable state of conservation....".
In January 2000 a cyanide spill at Esmeralda's Aurul S.A. Baia Mare gold operation in northern Romania released some 100,000 tons of contaminated wastewater into the Tisza River, and eventually into the Danube--destroying 1,240 tons of fish and polluting the drinking water supplies of 2.5 million people.
EU Council Directive 80/68/CEE of December 17, 1979 on ground water demands a zero percent of toxic waste (cyanide included but also: sulfur, arsenic, lead, mercury, copper, zinc, heavy metals, etc. and their byproducts) in ground water.
Gabriel Resources' intends to employ the cyanide leaching method, meaning that the tailings will contain cyanide. Importantly the tailings will also contain sulfur, lead, iron, mercury, copper, zinc, heavy metals, etc. and their byproducts. Gabriel's Rosia Montana project is situated along groundwater sources and the tailings are to be placed in an unlined pond in a valley riddled with rivers and rivulets; situated close to the town of Abrud. According to a report entitled 'The Compatibility of the Rosia Montana Mining Project in Romania with the Principles and Norms of EU and EC Legislation' by Univ. Prof. Dr. Peter Fischer and Univ. Ass. Dr. Alina Lengauer, LL.M, from the Institute of European Law, Gabriel's mine development contravenes EU Council Directive 80/68/CEE.
The ore grade at Rosia Montana is extremely low; Gabriel estimates it at 1.52 grams of gold per ton of ore. The ore would be processed using the cyanide-leaching method, which is controversial, because it has led to the contamination of rivers, streams and aquifers and to wildlife deaths and fish kills. If Gabriel Resources were to mine such low-grade ore using the cyanide process, the environmental consequences would likely be severe.
According to Professor John Monhemius who analyzed Gabriel's project as part of a PHARE Commission to advise on the European Union (EU) procedures and conditions that Gabriel's environmental impact assessment (EIA) would need to meet; this "is a very large mining operation. In full production about 26 million tons of ore and waste will be excavated per year or 500,000t/week. The tailings management facility (TMF) is sited immediately above the town of Abrud - potential for catastrophic consequences in the event of failure[...]
Water will be recovered from the TMF for recycling to the process by pumps mounted on a barge floating on the tailing pond. This can cause serious operational problems in stormy weather or icy conditions. If the barge should sink, or otherwise become inoperable, then all pumping capacity will be lost. The massive surface areas of the TMF will likely lead to significant dust problems in dry weather. In view of the proximity of the town of Abrud, this problem is significant.
Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is the greatest potential environmental problem associated with mining. The tailings alone "will contain 2 wt percent sulfur (in sulfide minerals). This is an AMD source which could last for decades, perhaps centuries (5 Mt SO)[...] In the process, sulfide minerals are separated and then later mixed back into the tailings before disposal. This is bad practice. Sulfides should be treated separately and disposed into a special lined tailings dam, thus minimizing AMD potential," concludes Monhemius.
The project a requires clear-cutting local forests to access the mine site, compounding the pollution threats with dangers of mudslides, flash floods, siltation of streams, and increased runoff.
Gabriel claims that its operation will bring significant employment benefits to the region. However, labor requirements for mining and maintenance during mine life slowly rise peaking with 248 employees during optimal production (year 8) and decrease again thereafter. Salaried staff requirements including expatriates average 30 during mine life.
Key Romanian persons that initiated the project and still may have a direct or indirect involvement in Gabriel Resources or RMGC have close connections with political and criminal milieus that are under investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Investigation Office (OLAF). Ovidiu Tender, who has been investigated by OLAF, was until summer 2004 on Gabriel's Board of Directors. He is also implicated in an investigation concerning the attempt of a company called VGB Invest to take over Romania's oil sector. According to a recent article published in "Ziua", this company's aim is to drain Romania's oil market and to aquire as much as possible of it. These attempts have given rise to some of the country's most notorious scandals (i.e. privatisation of Oltchim, CAROM, RAFO Onesti) causing the Romanian economy damages in the amount of billions of dollars.
Stephen Roman, who was one of the main actors behind the Oltchim privatization scandal in his function as Exall's president, today is a Director of European Goldfields and a financial consultant of Regal Petroleum. Both these companies were founded by Frank Vasile Timis who is also the founder of Gabriel Resources and a close partner of Ovidiu Tender.
As late as 2003 Frank Vasile Timis was giving via Regal Petroleum Plc financial assistance to Gabriel Resources and European Goldfields. Regal Petroleum itself enjoys a controversial past. It has been accused by Gazprom of Russia of cooperating with the Ukrainian mafia in stealing gas from its pipelines crossing the Ukraine. Frank Vasile Timis is the founder and executive chairman of Regal Petroleum. In 2005 Regal Petroleum made its shareholders loose 200 million pound sterling after a prospective oil field in Greece proved dry .
Under file No. 896/P/2004, The Prosecutor's Office next to the High Court of Cassation and Justice is currently investigating Nicolae Stanca, former Director of Minvest Deva and Frank Vasile Timis, founder of Gabriel Resources for abuse in function against public interest. The criminal case refers to the stake of Minvest Deva, the state-owned mining company, in what eventually became Rosia Montana Gold Corporation.
Civil society opposition to the project
The campaign to save Rosia Montana has given rise to the largest civil society movement in modern-day Romania. It enjoys the support of some of Romania's most prestigious institutions and is aided by a great number Romanian environmental NGOs. It is also endorsed by expert bodies, such as the Romanian Academy and Bucharest's Academy for Economic Studies; to name but two.
Given that Gabriel's project foresees the destruction of ten churches and nine cemeteries, Romania's churches have taken official positions; refusing to sell their properties in Rosia Montana. The Orthodox Church, which is the country's largest, has in addition taken a strong position against Gabriel's project; and this because of the environmental, social and cultural destruction inherent to the realization of the development.
A poll made by Romania's 'Ziua' daily newspaper on April 4, 2004 showed that 92% of its readers oppose Gabriel's project. The widespread opinion is that this development embodies the worst corruption of the political class. According to a poll conducted on July 27, 2004 during prime-airing time on OTV a main Romanian TV channel, 94% of the callers expressed their opposition to Gabriel's project.
On the international front the campaign is supported by eminent environmental NGOs, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Earthworks, Bankwatch CEE, MiningWatch Canada, Oxfam America/ USA, Earthworks/ USA, GreenGrants Foundation/ USA.
Given that Gabriel's project would destroy Romania's oldest documented mining settlement with its unique archaeological treasures, numerous members of Romania's and the international archaeological community are opposing the development. 1038 archaeologists, classicists, historians and institutions have written in protest to Romania's minister for Culture. The International Committee for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), UNESCO's archaeological consultant, passed three resolutions (13th, 14th and 15th General Assembly) to warn about the threat Gabriel's project poses to Rosia Montana's archaeological treasures.
In March 2005, Sacred Sites International Foundation (SSIF) included Rosia Montana and the Carnic Massif in particular on the 2005 Most Endangered Sacred Sites List.
In April 2005, Stephanie Roth, the coordinator of the Save Rosia Montana Campaign was awarded the prestigious international Goldman Environmental Prize - the world's largest prize for grassroots environmentalists.
In December 2005 National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) retrieved all advertisement for Gabriel Resources' Rosia Montana gold mining project. The decision was taken after Alburnus Maior informed NGCI about the true impact that Gabriel's project would, if ever realized, provoke. Shortly after, 'Academia Catavencu' – a major Romanian media trust retrieved all publicity for Gabriel Resources.
Update on the Rosia Montana EIA procedure
In December 2004, the Romanian authorities initiated the EIA procedure for the Rosia Montana mining project following the submission of the so-called Project Presentation Report by the project owner.
Consulted parties who had officially registered for the Rosia Montana EIA were not notified about the launch of the EIA by the Romanian environmental authorities. This is in breach of the Aarhus Convention's Art. 6 (2). Alburnus Maior consequently took the regional environmental protection agency to court and the case is still pending.
The Project Presentation Report was contested by civil society members and organizations. The contestations (a total of 500) asked the ministry to return the documentation to the project owner to be completed according to applicable legislation. Civil society organizations claimed that the Project Presentation Report: - omits to address the project's true impact on the social, natural and cultural environment; - was not made in accordance with the applicable legislation necessary for obtaining an environmental agreement - presents insufficient information on the project's owner, previous arrangements and contracts signed between the Romanian state and the project's owner (i.e. mining licenses) as well as compliance with Rosia Montana's Urbanism plans. Alburnus Maior has taken the Ministry for the Environment to court for not investigating the legality of the Project Presentation Report. The case is still pending.
In July 2005 Alburnus Maior and the Center for Legal Resources (CRJ) formulated a so-called 'Communication' to the Aarhus Compliance Committee (ACC). Romania deposited its instrument of ratification of the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation and access to Justice on environmental matters on 11. July 2000. It entered into force on 30 October 2001. In October 2005, ACC determined on a preliminary basis the communication to be admissible. According to the communication Romania's ministry for the Environment has grossly violated art. 6 of the Aarhus Convention during the Rosia Montana EIA scoping stage. This is due to the fact that the scoping stage was done without any form of public participation and in a complete lack of transparency. The decision has been communicated to Romania's ministry for Environment on 27 October 2005, which will now have to reply to an interrogatory.
Gabriel Resources at the moment claims that the third and last step of the EIA process is well underway. However, at this stage, the EIA process is invalid further to the suspension of the urbanism certificate (see below); a mandatory prerequisite for initiating and carrying out permitting procedures.
Strategic Litigation Victories related to the Rosia Montana mine proposal
1. Annulment of Archaeological Discharge Certificate 4/2004.
On 20 June 2005 the Alba Court of Appeal (the "court") announced the annulment of archaeological discharge certificate No.4/2004. Law 5/2000 protected Carnic as a cultural monument of national interest. Discharge Certificate No.4/2004 lifted this protection status for the whole massif, with the exception of a small zone in the south-eastern part called 'Piatra Corbului', which remained protected. The result of the Court of Appeal's annulment of DC 4/2004 is that the Carnic Massif as a whole (= Carnic Pit) is again under the protected status of a cultural monument of national interest. According to article 11 of Romania's mining law (85/2003) "carrying out mining activities on lands on which are located historical, cultural and religious monuments, archaeological sites of important interest and natural reservations... is strictly forbidden." Since Carnic contains the highest reserves of gold its exploitation is central to the project's feasibility. Alburnus Maior is aware of that fact that both Gabriel and the Ministry of Culture have appealed against the annulment of the archaeological discharge certificate No.4/2004 (DC 4/2004). Independently of both these appeals, DC 4/2004 is suspended until an irrevocable decision has been reached.
2. Suspension of the Urbanism Certificate for RMGC's Industrial Development Area
On 15 June 2005 the Alba County Tribunal (the "tribunal") suspended the urbanism certificate granted to Rosia Montana Gold Corporation; a required step in the permitting of the mining project. Alburnus Maior and CRJ have, via a juridical executor, notified the relevant authorities of the court's verdict and its binding nature; this in the sense that all authorization procedures based on this act, including the EIA procedure, need to be suspended. Amongst others, any advancement regarding the so-called "Modification of the Zonal Urbanism Plan for the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation Industrial Development area" now is null and void. Gabriel appealed the suspension of the Urbanistic Certificate; claiming that they had been given an unfair trial and that "... it is certain that Rosia Montana Gold Corporation S.A. is prejudiced by the suspension of the Urbanistic Certificate... .The suspension gives rise to our impossibility to continue operational and financial procedures. According to Law 50/1991 the Urbanistic Certificate is a necessary and mandatory document for the issuing of any kind of authorisation necessary for the implementation of our activities..." The appeal was rejected by Alba-Iulia's Court of Appeal on 2 November 2005. This now makes the suspension irrevocable.
3. Suspension of the environmental permit for Gabriel's Rosia Montana Exploration Project (39 Drilling Points)
In November 2005, Alba-Iulia's Court of Appeal suspended the environmental permit granted to Gabriel for 39 drilling points at Rosia Montana. The sentence passed is irrevocable. During the Court's debate, Alburnus Maior was able to prove that the environmental permit granted for the exploration project would give rise to significant and irreparable damages. These include the deforestation of large areas, the draining of important aquifers as well as posing foreseeable risks to the local population and to an area of archaeological importance.
4. Alburnus Maior, the Otus Assocation for Environmental Protection and CRJ have secured a legal victory to gain access to Gabriel's Bucium Exploration Licence
The Bucium Exploration License (No. 218/ 6.04.1999) granted to Gabriel was classified by Romania's National Agency for Mineral Resources; making it impossible for members of the public to gain access to this document. In October 2005, the Mures Court of Appeal obliged the Alba Iulia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to communicate the requested information to the plaintiffs. The verdict was unsuccessfully appealed by Alba Iulia's EPA which will now have to communicate the license via a juridical executor to the plaintiffs. Once in receipt of the license, the plaintiffs intend to publish and challenge it in court.
5. Toulouse University II Le Mirail and France's National Centre of Scientific Research have no author rights over the report entitled `Ancient Gold Mines of Dacia'
In September 2003 www.rosiamontana.org posted a report entitled 'Ancient Gold Mines of Dacia', which amongst others highlighted the unique archaeological importance of the so called Carnic Massif. Carnic has been protected under Law 5/2000 and in order for Gabriel to exploit it, an important archaeological research program was initiated by Romania's Ministry for Culture and the Cults. Toulouse University II Le Mirail and France's National Centre of Scientific Research have consequently been researching the massif for Gabriel since 2000. In 2004 these two institutions took Alburnus Maior to court for posting 'Ancient Gold Mines of Dacia' on www.rosiamontana.org; claiming that their author's right had been violated and that their study "was destined to serve private interests and not to be presented to the larger public." Alburnus Maior, legally assisted by CRJ, was able to successfully prove that the plaintiffs do not have author's rights over 'Ancient Gold Mines of Dacia'. The case, after many appeals made by the plaintiff, was irrevocably settled by Romania's Supreme Court.
6. Gabriel has abandoned a court action regarding www.rosiamontana.org that aimed to restrain Alburnus Maior from using 'Rosia Montana' as a domain name
In April 2004 Gabriel initiated a legal action against Alburnus Maior for using www.rosiamontana.org; claiming amongst others that the name 'Rosia Montana' belongs to Gabriel and that the website was disseminating 'false' and 'misleading' information. Gabriel asked the court to pronounce a decision obliging Alburnus Maior to cease using the internet domain name www.rosiamontana.org; to pay damages in the amount of 1 million Lei for each day of delay; to oblige Alburnus Maior to publish the court's decision in a national daily newspaper with a large circulation and to pay the charges incurred in the solving of this lawsuit. In autumn 2005, Gabriel Resources announced that it had abandoned this court case. Alburnus Maior, legally assisted by CRJ, has now filed an appeal claiming that the court should first have decided whether Gabriel committed an abuse in initiating this court case. Alburnus Maior claims that Gabriel's motivation for initiating this court case had been to denigrate the NGO and the contents of www.rosiamontana.org.
7. Two Gabriel employees were proven guilty for gravely insulting and for threatening the life of Alburnus Maior's legal councilor
In April 2005 Alburnus Maior's legal councillor was gravely insulted and threatened with death by two Gabriel employees. This occurred 24 hours after Richard Hill, Gabriel's General Manager at the time, rallied employees to take action against the opposition; because "NGOs who attack the Rosia Montana Project have to be shown and the whole world needs to be explained that they do not represent you...They are very well organized and use any means to oppose the project. The evil will triumph if people of good faith do not take action...." In November 2004, the Tribunal at Alba Iulia passed its final verdict; criminally charging the two employees for gravely insulting and for threatening the life of Alburnus Maior's legal councilor.
Development alternatives for the Rosia Montana area
In 2004 Alburnus Maior commissioned a feasibility study to research non-mining development opportunities for Rosia Montana. Since 2004 Alburnus Maior has been implementing and preparing a number of development projects in partnership with several institutions such as NGOs, Universities and foundations. They are as follows:
1. FanFest 2004 Status:
Implemented. Period: 27-29 August 2004; Budget: 9500 euro Website: www.fanfest.ro FanFest is a music festival that takes place in Rosia Montana each year since 2004. Its aim is to promote Rosia Montana's touristic potential and to support local people in developing alternative income-generating activities such as agro-tourism, cultural tourism, crafts as well as other services. In 2004 FanFest attracted 4000 visitors from Romania and abroad. FanFest 2004 was a one night music event.
2. The Golden Way
Status: Implemented. Period: 1 June-1 September 2005 Budget: 3900 Euro funded by the Partnership Foundation Miercurea Ciuc. Website: www.drumulaurului.ro The Golden Way is a touristic circuit along the "Green Ways" model. Its objectives were: - To identify local traditions related to mining as well as to other aspects related to Rosia Montana's cultural identity. - To promote these values through the creation of a "Golden Way". - To involve locals from Rosia Montana in income-generating activities. The results were: - The identification and inclusion of 20 sites of touristy interest in the "Golden Way". - The involvement of 50 locals from Rosia Montana in identifying and turning these sites into value. - Assistance given to three families in obtaining production certificates and authorizations, as well as in founding small farmers associations and small commercial societies. - Placing large information maps at strategically important points to explain the "Golden Way". - Launching the procedure to classify the Golden Way as a touristic circuit. - Launching the procedure to set up an Eco-business club at Rosia Montana.
3. FanFest Rosia Montana 2005
Status: Implemented. Period: 26-28 August 2005 Budget: 26.000 Euro Website: www.fanfest.ro FanFest Rosia Montana 2005 attracted 8000 visitors for three days to Rosia Montana. Its aim was to prove that tourism is possible in Rosia Montana. It offered a diversified combination of activities for music and nature lovers. Amongst the activities were: hey-jumping, climbing panels, exhibitions, posters and graffiti contests, film projections on environmental issues, workshops on several aspects related to Rosia Montana, a local product fair, the launch of the Golden Way touristic project as well as excursions in the area with local guides.
4. FanFest Rosia Montana 2006
Status: In Preparation. Period: 25-27 August 2006 Budget: 30.000 Euro Website: www.fanfest.ro FanFest 2006 will put a greater emphasis on the cultural and environmental aspects of this music festival. The organizers will continue to work together with locals from Rosia Montana to assist them in exposing their products and services at FanFest. FanFest 2006 will last for three days and aims to attract 10.000 visitors to Rosia Montana.
5. Sustainable development in Bucium
Status: On going. Period: 1 October 2005-31 May 2006 Budget: 2750 Euro, funded by the Partnership Foundation Miercurea Ciuc. Website: www.buciumanii.ro The aim of this project is to turn the area's agro-touristic potential into a viable alternative vis-à-vis the mono-industrial project proposed by Rosia Montana Gold Corporation. Locals from Bucium have, over the time, initiated small businesses in agro-tourism; yet, they are at an early stage and many of them lack promotion resources. Whilst a good number of locals wish to invest in agro-tourism, they are unfamiliar as to how practically go about it. Expected results: publishing and distributing a toolkit on how to open a touristic pension; exchanges of experience between locals from Bucium and locals from the touristic resort of Sâncraiu; setting-up touristic information panels; creating and promoting a website for the commune as a whole; disseminating brochures at the national level; identifying and supporting new initiatives to open touristic pensions.
6. Alburnus Maior's Resources Center and Tourist Information Center
Status: In preparation; project submitted for funding Period: February-June 2006 Budget: 9350 Euro. The community resources center combined with a tourist information is a great necessity for Rosia Montana. The project whishes to encourage local business initiatives by facilitating trainings, language courses and access to information. The resource center will also host a private library and it will be an intermediary between locals and consultancy firms, commercial banks and other funders. The center will periodically organize seminars and presentations on different aspects of interest for the local community. The project's concrete and measurable expected results are: - To inform an approximate number of 200 locals on sustainable economic development issues - To assist a number of 20 locals in opening a business in Rosia Montana. - To provide information and guidance to the many tourists that visit Rosia Montana every year - To hold seminars, training sessions and presentations - To employ a community facilitator
7. Rosia Montana Center for Formation and Professional Re-qualification
Status: In preparation. Period: From mid 2006 on Budget: 20.000 Euro Given the re-adjustments in Romania's mining sector including Rosia Montana, many local miners are faced with unemployment. In addition, there exists a significant number of young people wishing to acquire professional skills to develop small businesses at Rosia Montana. The aim of this project is to provide specialized trainings to these two target groups and to guide them step-by-step through the setting up of a business.
8. Inclusion of the Rosia Montana commune in the SAPARD program, measure 3.3
Status: In preparation. Period: From the beginning of 2007 on. The Project's aim is biodiversity and semi-natural habitats conservation by encouraging traditional agricultural practices. The project will consist of a group of farmers from Rosia Montana collectively managing a maximum of 50ha of pasture and who, by using traditional agricultural practices such as manually cutting the hay, will receive compensatory bonuses in the value of 90Euros/hectar/annum. The association will set up an environmentally-friendly management plan for the farm based on the Best Available Practices in Agriculture Code of the European Union. The project's beneficiaries will participate in training sessions on specialized management (e.g. sustainable management of water sources used for agricultural purposes in correlation with environmental conservation in rural areas, marketing, preparation of environmentally-friendly plans for small and medium farms, accountancy, etc.
9. Preparing a management and conservation plan for the archeological vestiges from Rosia Montana for their inclusion on UNESCO's World Heritage list
Status: In preparation for submission at Global Heritage Fund organization Period: End of 2006-end of 2007 Estimated budget: 200.000 US$ The project's aim is to offer the Romanian authorities the necessary assistance to include Rosia Montana on the UNESCO's World Heritage list. The project will include: - setting up an expert consultative committee which will comprise, amongst others, ICOMOS Hungary, members of the French mining archaeological team that has been exploring the Carnic Massif in the past 5 years and the Pro-Patrimonio Foundation England - preparation of a management and conservation plan for the archeological vestiges at Rosia Montana; - a detailed inventory of available cultural resources and of a plan for cultural tourism development in Rosia Montana; - submission of Rosia Montana as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
10. The first accredited touristic pension in Rosia Montana
Status: On going. Period: October 2005-May 2006 Budget: 10.000 Euro This project was initiated by a local from Rosia Montana who has commissioned Alburnus Maior to help him set up a touristic pension. Alburnus Maior is assisting the project owner throughout the whole process of developing a business plan, writing the funding proposal, identifying the market as well as planning promotion strategies. The pension will be located close to the Carnic Massif and the Tarina Lake, as such offering a beautiful view for the guests as well as many opportunities to spend time in Rosia Montana. The pension will offer 20 accommodation places, a restaurant as well as many local circuits with out without local guides. After receiving funding from the SAPARD program, measure 3.4, the pension will be accredited by the Ministry for Tourism. The project aims to finish just before the 2006 touristic season. The investment is set to be recovered in three years time, based on a projected profit of 2000 Euros/annum.
10. Ride a bike at Rosia Montana
Status: On going. Period: December 2005-June 2006 Budget: 5000 Euro. This project was initiated by a young local from Rosia Montana following his participation in the "Golden Way" project. The project's aim is to initiate a small business for renting mountain bikes to tourists as well as offering guided bike tours in the near-by area. The project has been submitted for funding to the Partnership Foundation Miercurea Ciuc. The investment is set to be recovered in three years time, based on a projected profit of 1000 Euros/annum.