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. 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.
The battle for a cyanide-free Romania is far from being over and its result depends on each of us, the citizens”, said the Mining Watch Romania network..