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Deva Muncel gold and polymetallic ores exploitation, Romania


More and more communities throughout Romania, with gold-silver and polymetallic deposits in their underground are targeted by destructive mining projects. In the absence of prior consent or consultation of residents, a mining company registered in a tax haven enjoys the endorsement of authorities to conduct drilling near Deva and Brad, two towns in Romania. These operations of prospecting and exploration drilling are just the initial phases of a type of industrial development that impoverishes local communities and destroys their chance to have a sustainable future. According to the Environmental Protection Agency in Deva, none of the drilling needed an environmental impact assessment.

The mining company European Goldfields Deva Ltd., a subsidiary of Eldorado Gold, owner of the Certej project conducts exploration drilling in the vicinity of the town of Deva. The Deva Muncel areas are located on the territories of Veţel commune and Deva city. With 2800 inhabitants, Veţel commune lies in the close vicinity of Deva city. The region is known for its lead, zinc, copper, gold, silver and rare elements in the area of Muncelul Mic and Muncelul Mare villages.

The Hunedoara Environmental Protection Agency decided on 06.11.2013 that the project „Geological Exploration Works in Muncel mining area”, proposed to be performed in the Veţel commune, Căhoi village, Hunedoara county, shall not be subject to the environmental impact assessment. The company European Goldfields Deva SRL announced they would commence the exploration works in the gold bearing areas Brad, Deva and Muncel, Hunedoara county, at the beginning of the last quarter of 2013, that also being the start point of the conflict.

The reports issued by the local media show that drilling is done in the immediate vicinity of a residential area situated on Aurel Vlaicu Street, on private property. Furios with the groundwater pollution in the Valea Craiesei area along with permanent traffic of heavy machinery and road depreciation, dozens of citizens showed up at a City Council meeting in Deva on 29th of January 2014.

In their presence and ignoring comments and requests, including the ones mentioning that drilling is done across the street from the Zănoaga Hill protected area, the local councilors voted to allow the mining company to expand drillings into new areas of the city that are also public property. Prior to the vote, a mining company representative pleaded before councilors for new drilling permits, while the citizens were denied the right to speak. After more than two hours after the Council cast their vote, the citizens were invited to express their concerns. The Urbanism Manager of Deva was the first one that downsized the seriousness of the problems listed by the residents of Aurel Vlaicu street, stating that “the company obtained an urbanism certificate so people rest reassured that everything is ok”. Then, the Mayor Peter Mărginean instructed the checking of the heavy traffic impact on houses and cynically declared: “Maybe they will find uranium and they will move us all to Vienna”. Shortly after the Local Council meeting, the mining company moved its equipment to another inhabited are in Deva, new drills being expected to start soon.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Deva Muncel gold and polymetallic ores exploitation, Romania
State or province:Hunedoara
Location of conflict:Vetel 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 ore exploration
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Gold
polymetallic ores

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Name of the mining area: Deva Muncel (Deva area), Deva Muncel (Muncel area) mining areas

Location: Vețel commune, Hunedoara county

License issuance date: exploration license No. 15995 and 15996/01.2013

Project holder 2013: European Goldfields Deva SRL

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

Data on the deposit: polymetallic ores, including gold

Project permitting stage: –

Project area:3200
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3000
Start of the conflict:06/11/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Eldorado Gold (EG) from Canada
European Goldfields SRL from Romania
Relevant government actors:National Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR)
Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MMSC)
Agency Hunedoara (Hunedoara EPA)
Hunedoara County Council
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The Mining Watch Romania network
Independent Centre for the Development of Environmental Resources
Alburnus Maior Association
Efectul Fluture Association

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, 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…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economical 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 traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Permission granted for drilling
Development of alternatives:Mining Watch Romania Deva calls for local authorities to respond immediately to public inquires in order to clarify the permitting state of the exploration drilling taking place in Deva and calls for the immediate publication of all information on permits and agreements issued by the Local Council regarding the above mentioned mining project.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The exploration and drilling permits were given to Eldorado Gold without a previous public consultation, even though this was repeatedly requested by Mining Watch Romania. More than that, the local council entitled the mining company to expand its drilling in new areas, that are under public ownership. All the drilling activity has been conducted without the community consent.

Sources & Materials

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

Roxana Pencea, Stefania Simion, Tudor Brădățan, Romania - a mined field

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Who is behind the Deva Gold business

Deva Gold expands the Certej project

Foraje minere fără consimţământul comunităţii în Deva-Muncel şi Brad

Eldorado Gold demareaza explorarea in perimetrele aurifere Brad, Deva si Muncel

Mining Watch Romania - No community consent for exploration drilling in Deva-Muncel and Brad

Mining Watch Romania

Other documents

Deva Muncel Mine drilling without the consent of the community at Deva Muncel

Meta information

Contributor:Roxana Pencea, Raluca Vestemeanu - Mining Watch Romania, [email protected]
Last update28/10/2015



Deva Muncel

Mine drilling without the consent of the community at Deva Muncel