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.