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Rovina gold and copper mining, Romania

In the area already affected by the Baia Mare cyanide spill disaster, the largest mining operation in the country is being proposed by the Canadian Carpathian Gold. It would be the first fully private mining project in Romania


This mining project proposes the exploitation of 120 tonnes of gold and 100,000 tonnes of copper in huge open pits. Rovina could thus become the largest mining operation in Romania, the size of the two open pits – 500 and 600 m diameter respectively and depth between 300 and 400 m – exceeding in size even the Rosia Montana project. The entire area is currently covered with agricultural land, pastures and forests, all project objectives being located on uninhabited areas but in the close vicinity of Rovina and Merisor villages belonging to Criscior and Bucureşci communes. In a straight line Rovina is only 20 kilometres distant from Rosia Montană and only 7 km away from Brad, a town with 13,900 inhabitants. NAMR has granted the exploitation title for Rovina to a private operator, in a total lack of transparency.  It is extremely serious that local population is completely ignored in the stage of issuing and granting the mining titles. Most of the people who would be directly affected by the mining project do not even have basic information about the project; most of them do not even understand what an open pit of such size means. Carpathian Gold (CPN:TSX), a Canadian mining junior, intends to open a low-cost open-pit copper and gold mine. The Rovina deposit is owned by Carpathian Gold through the company Samax Romania Limited (based in the Virgin Islands), which in turn holds Samax România, a limited liability company (SRL) registered in Baia Mare, Romania. According to a company announcement of July 2011, Barrick Gold (ABX:TSX), the largest mining company in the world, purchased 9% of the shares of Carpathian Gold for the amount of 20 million dollars. Rovina is thus the first mining project held 100% by a foreign company, with no participation of the Romanian state. According to the agreement, Carpathian only has to pay 4% royalties to the Romanian state.  The region is already heavily polluted, being included as a hot spot on the list “Baia Mare Task Force”, an environmental program developed by the UN together with the European Union, after the disaster caused by the Baia Mare cyanide spill. The new mining project considerably increases the environmental risks in the region. The development of projects in the area would entail “the generation of no less than 2,900 hectares of mining waste”.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Rovina gold and copper mining, Romania
State or province:Hunedoara
Location of conflict:Apuseni Mountains, Bucureșci commune
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 processing
Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Copper
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Name of the mining area: Rovina

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Project area:2770
Level of Investment:762,724,451
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:4,000
Start of the conflict:27/05/2015
Company names or state enterprises:Barrick Gold Corporation from Canada
Carpathian Gold Inc. from Canada
Relevant government actors:National Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Mining Watch Romania
National Society of Conservation – Friends of the Earth Hungary
Greenpeace Hungary
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Forms of mobilization:Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Soil erosion, Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Greenpeace and FOE Hungary concluded that the Rovina project corresponds to at least three categories listed in the Appendix I of the Espoo Convention:
10. Waste-disposal installations for the incineration, chemical treatment or landfill of toxic and dangerous wastes.
11. Large dams and reservoirs
14. Major mining, on-site extraction and processing of metal ores or coal
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Espoo convention
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References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The Romanian Prime Minister is under investigation, Carpathian's Rovina licence is now the least of his concerns
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Ponta Government saves Carpathian Gold from bankruptcy by granting them the mining licence for Rovina
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Civil society in Romania prepares for another Rosia Montana scenario at Rovina
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Greenpeace and FOE Hungary trigger the ESPOO convention for the Rovina mine
[click to view] - Romania opens door to new gold, copper project led by Canadians

Cecilia Jamasmie | May. 27, 2015
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Presentation by Mining Watch Romania on The dangers of gold-mining for Romania and Europe
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Meta information
Contributor:Mining Watch Romania
Last update18/08/2019
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