Gold and polymetallic ores mining in Brad and the battle against cyanide, Romania

Brad in Hunedoara is an old mining centre. Activities stopped in the town in 2006, with the state mines being considered inefficient. The Hunedoara Environmental Protection Agency decided against the new Eldorado project in 2013.


Description

Historically, gold mining in Romania was done in the Apuseni Mountains. The south part of these mountains is very rich in gold deposits. In literature, this area is referred to as the ”auriferous quadrangle”. The immediate background to this confict, as in other minign conflicts in Romania, is the economic crisis of 2008 and the rising price of precious metals in those years which resulted in a growing interest from investors internationally in starting mining projects in peripheral Europe.[1] The whole South-Eastern Europe faced such project proposals, eight of which were located only in Greece. The same trend was also been visible in Romania since 2012 when  members of the European Parliament and the Romanian Government discussed,within a seminar in Bucharest, about our country’s potential to develop seemingly small scale cyanide gold mining projects.  One of them would be in Brad. The town of Brad in Hunedoara has 13,000 inhabitants and is located 37 km away from Deva (anonther mining site), on the national road DN76 to Oradea. Brad is an old mining centre, mining operations being first documented in 21 AD. There is a well known gold museum. Mining activities stopped in the town in 2006, with the state mines being considered inefficient. The Hunedoara Environmental Protection Agency decided on 09.07.2013 that the project „Surface exploration drilling and rehabilitation of access roads to the Brad exploration area”, proposed to be undertaken in Brad town, Ruda-Brad village, on the premises of the former Maria Mine – should not be subject to the environmental impact assessment. While in Brad mining pemit was not yet forhcoming, there are other projects of gold mining exploration for which is approved in the area, that would use cyanide. The position taken by the government in 2016 is therefore relevant: “This proposal for a (ten year) moratorium on cyanide use in mining is a first step towards the definitive ban of this toxic practice for Romania’s nature and communities. We need to continue to enhance our efforts because, on the other side, industry and the associated lobby make pressures to continue the use of cyanide, no matter what the consequences would be.

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Basic Data
NameGold and polymetallic ores mining in Brad and the battle against cyanide, Romania
CountryRomania
ProvinceHunedoara
SiteBrad
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesGold
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsEldorado Gold Corporation is a Canadian-based, gold mining company with assets in Turkey, China, Greece, Brazil and Romania. This conflict is related o the mining area: Brad, Baia de Criş, Vălişoara, Dealul Mare . License issuance date: exploration license No. 15997/01.2013 . Project holder 2013: European Goldfields Deva SRL

Shareholders: Eldorado Gold (80-100%) (by its subsidiary Deva Gold Barbados Ltd.)

Although the project in Brad appears to be stalled, in the same area (Deva, Brad, Certej) Eldorado announced in August 2016 that the Romanian National Agency for Mineral Resources awarded the Troita – Pitigus exploration license covering the Bolcana project to Eldorado's 100% owned Romania subsidiary SC European Goldfields Deva SRL. The Bolcana project is located in the Golden Quadrilateral mining region of the Apuseni Mountains near the historic mining centers of Deva and Brad, and approximately six kilometres west of the Company's Certej development project.
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population13000
Start Date09/07/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesEuropean Goldfields SRL from Romania
Eldorado Gold (EG) from Canada
Relevant government actorsNational Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR)

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MMSC)

Agency Hunedoara (Hunedoara EPA)

Hunedoara County Council
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersThe Mining Watch Romania network

Independent Centre for the Development of Environmental Resources

Alburnus Maior Association

Efectul Fluture Association
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Women
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
OtherRisk of use of cyanide
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNew Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Brad itself has not gone ahead, apprently, but there is exploration by Eldorado in nearby areas.
Sources and Materials
References

Brad mining area
[click to view]

[1] Roxana Pencea, Tudor Brădăţan, Ştefania Simion. This report is published by Mining Watch Romania, the network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based groups working on issues concerning gold mining activities in Romania. 2014.
[click to view]

[2] Romanian Government proposes a ban on cyanide use in mining for the next 10 years, 27 Dec. 2016
[click to view]

Links

Foraje minere fără consimţământul comunităţii în Deva-Muncel şi Brad
[click to view]

Eldorado Gold demareaza explorarea in perimetrele aurifere Brad, Deva si Muncel
[click to view]

August 2016, announcement by Eldorado company
[click to view]

Other Documents

[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorRoxana Pencea, Raluca Vestemeanu - Mining Watch Romania, [email protected]
Last update10/01/2017
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