About Us
Back Issues
The free weekly direct action newsheet published in Brighton since 1994 - Copyleft - Information for Action


In the dark caves of Transylvania something creeps but it is not vampires you should be worried about. The real blood sucking threat to Romania is Gabriel Resources, the company behind the Rosia Montana gold mining project. Protesters have been gathering outside Westminster every Sunday since the 1st of September to raise awareness about this ecological catastrophe that is currently unfolding in Romania. They are holding weekly demonstrations. Check facebook event. Schnews took a look at the most recent one:

 Around 100 Save Rosia Montana campaigners showed up in cold temperatures to raise concerns over the mining project. There were banners inscribed with “Together We Will Save Rosia Montana”, “Our mountains are not for sale”, “You shall not pass”, and they'd brought a dusky green authentic Romanian banger with the number plates of BRJ 135K to drive the point home. The demonstration this Sunday(11th) was due to start at 2.30pm but protesters were told by the Met to start demonstrating at 3pm instead as there was a clash with Remembrance Day and they were then forced to move down the road so instead of standing by Parliament Square they reassembled by the George V statue. To further complicate matters, their allocated area was host to another demonstrating group, the Egypt anti-coup protesters.

There was uncertainty of how the two would demonstrate together at the same spot without shitting on each other’s parade but in a true revolutionary spirit of solidarity and show of camaraderie each group took the microphone for two minutes and took it in turns to shout, “We do not want cyanide”, “From the river to the sea, Egypt, Egypt will be free”, “Say NO Cyanide”, “BBC don't you see, SISI killed democracy”, “Romanian Government Shame On You”. This was the way of it for two hours until the final hour commenced and a choir had formed, made up of Romanian and Egyptian protesters shouting each other’s woeful and powerful slogans. One demonstrator took the stand and led their songs of protest as well as the conductor of the London Philharmonic orchestra would have. Cars sporadically beeped in support as they drove by.

There is an open piece collective art project, Echo Rosia Montana, being created for the campaign (and against fracking, and for the Global Ecological Revolution) initiated by Artist Emanuela Marcu. People are encouraged to participate, starting with one person drawing a small leaf in the middle of a blank piece of paper or canvas and then writing their name at the bottom of the page then the following person traces a line around the leaf, reflecting the initial image like an echo and signs their name next to the last person's, linking their names together. At the end this artistic process creates an image that depicts the rippling effect. This is meant to show “in the same way as the protest, from a small gesture of inner resistance, to a movement as vast as a shoreless ocean spreading around you, that you will have moved from stillness to irrepressible, waving life”. New York, Paris, Torino and London are some of the cities that have taken part in creating canvasses for the revolution. It will result in an end piece signed by thousands of people in many cities across the world. Echo for Rosia Montana will be delivered to the hands of UNESCO Paris along with a global plea to add Rosia Montana to the World Heritage List.

The Save Rosia Montana campaign has recently grabbed the attention of some better known players. Last week Kumi Naidoo (Executive Director of Greenpeace International) attended a demonstration and showed his support. Serban Cantacuzino (President of Pro Patrimonio – The National Trust of Romania) and Nicolae Ratiu (Chairman of The Ratiu Foundation) both of the Romanian Cultural Institute have publicly pledged their support.

Fool's Gold

Rosia Montana is the oldest mining area that has been documented in Romania (1882 years old), with mines from Pre-Roman and Roman times, as well as several monument-buildings, all from different historical periods. There has been mining here quite recently as well, but not on the devastatating scale of this project. The open cast gold mine at Roșia Montana would be the largest scale exploitation of its kind in Europe, with the actual holes alone covering 205 hectares.

Cyanide would be used to extract the gold, 13 times more sodium cyanide would be used here than the entire quantity that is currently being used in Europe. The mine is predicted to have a catastrophic environmental impact on the local ecosystem and on other ecosystems in the Danube river basin, due to the use of cyanide and its proven dangers and risks. The project will use 13,000 tons of cyanide per year, leaving behind 500 million tons of cyanide tailing waste. In 2000, the dam burst on a lake containing cyanide-contaminated water in Baia Mare, another gold minig site in Romania. The spill killed all aquatic life in several rivers and contaminated drinking water for at least 2.5 million people. It is widely considered the worst environmental disaster in Europe since Chernobyl. The Rosia Montana mine would use 130 times more cyanide than Baia Mare.

Gold digging

Back at Rosia Montana, 4 mountains will be blasted away, 975 houses torn down, out of which 41 houses are considered national heritage sites, 7 churches demolished, blown up, or covered by the cyanide pond and 11 cemeteries will be relocated. The controversy that sparked around the mining project has lead to an unprecedented mobilization of the Romanian and European civil society. Over the 13 years of its existence, “Save Roșia Montană” has become the largest social and environmental movement in Romania. The current incarnation of the project would be 80% owned by Canadian corporation, Gabriel Resources, who think they'll get about 10 million ounces of gold over 16 years. Their share price has plummeted since the huge protests began and the company has resorted to threats to sue the Romanian government for $4 billion if they don't grant permission to go ahead.

Back in 2010, three British experts from the University of Oxford and the University of Leicester were asked to evaluate Rosia Montana for Unesco. They released the following statement “This Statement of Significance, which focuses on the Cărnic Massif of Roúia Montană, concludes that the Cărnic Massif constitutes part of a wider cultural landscape of high significance, comparable in magnitude to “outstanding universal value” in the UNESCO criteria for World Heritage status. The evidence of Roman mining in Cărnic is part of the largest, most extensive and most important underground mine complexes within the Roman Empire. It is, in this important respect, unique.”

The following statement was released by the Save Rosa Montana campaign:

On 10 November 2013 an international anti-mining protest was held outside the UK Houses of Parliament in solidarity with all communities affected by mining worldwide. The protest was organised by the Save Rosia Montana UK support group with the participation and support of communities from South America, Europe and south-east Asia. Millions of people worldwide are affected by the mining industry. They suffer from conflict, pollution, forced displacements, destruction of cultural and archaeological heritage, social, environmental, economic and other negative impacts. London is at the heart of the world's financial system and many of the global mining companies accused of abuses against local communities are based in the city, therefore what better location to show the ugly reality of mining than London! A global problem requires a global solution. We are all fighting powerful entities that work together for their own financial benefit. We believe that we have a better chance of stopping them by standing UNITED.

The following statements have been received in support of our protest from communities across the globe whose very existence is threatened by mining.

Rosia Montana, Romania -Save Rosia Montana UK

"Now in its 14th year of opposition, Save Rosia Montana has become Romania's largest environmental movement. The threat of the biggest proposed open cast gold mine in Europe led to an unprecedented mobilisation of the Romanian and European civil society. The Romanian Autumn, a description coined by the international media, has the potential to become Europe's green revolution by saying NO to cyanide mining and the destruction of its environment and YES to a sustainable future.”

Halkidiki, Greece - Skouries Solidarity, UK

"In Greece, in the context of crisis and the collapse of the political system, the communities of Halkidiki are asserting their citizenship and in doing so are creating a new political subjectivity. Despite State attempts to intimidate them and to criminalise their struggle, ordinary people are standing up for themselves and fighting for land, justice and rights. We stand with them."

Kremnica, Slovakia - Kremnica nad zlato, Kremnica beyond gold

“In Kremnica, the proposed mine by Ortac Resources (100% owned) lies just meters from local houses and 1km from the main city square. The open pit will be 1200m long, 450m wide at least 300m deep and the mining explosions could easily damage this beautiful medieval town. The company wants to mine 35 tonnes of gold and 278 tonnes of silver. Slovakia has no law banning the use of cyanide. Some of the advisers of the mining company in Kremnica are the same people from Rosia Montana, such as John Aston, former vice-president of RMGC."

Košice, Slovakia - Urán Košice STOP "Košice, the second largest city in Slovakia, is threatened by the plan of a Canadian-owned company to mine uranium in a recreational area located just 6km away from the city and close to the source of drinking water for the city. The vast majority of local people have been vehemently opposed to the mining already since 2005, but despite this opposition Slovak politicians choose to listen to the mining companies and not their own citizens.”

Colombia - ColombiaSolidarity Campaign

"Colombia, a country with tremendous wealth in terms of its biodiversity (ranked second in the world) and diversity of cultures (indigenous, Afro-descendent and campesino), is currently under threat from the Colombian Government's "Mining Locomotive", a policy in which huge swathes of the country are being set aside for large scale mining projects by multinationals companies. Most Colombians do not want this future for their country and are speaking out. However, recently there have been assassinations of environmental campaigners and community leaders who are opposing such projects. The most recent case is that of César García, who was gunned down near his home in Cajamarca on 2 November 2013. We call on the Colombian authorities to carry about a rigorous investigation of these crimes, and to ensure that other environmental campaigners and community leaders who oppose mining projects are protected."

Tanjay, Philippines - Tanjay Anti-Black Sand Mining Movement “The City Government of Tanjay, Negros Oriental, Philippines entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sino-Italy Constructions Philippines, Inc. for a dredging project at the mouth of Tanjay River. Yet at present they are now installing and ready to operate a Mineral Processing Plant for Magnetite Sand. Full scale mining is going ahead, disguised as dredging. The Environmental Compliance Certificate was issued by Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Region 7; yet no Environmental Impact Assessment was presented nor a public hearing was conducted prior to the issuance of the ECC. We all know that mineral activities and operations have various environmental, economic, social, and cultural impacts. Our movement fully supports the statements and concerns of the Save Rosia Montana UK support group that “A global problem requires a global solution!” We call on all affected communities to unite to protect their rights for a clean and healthy environment. United against irresponsible mining!

If you live in London the group have organised a fundraising event on Sunday the 1st December with a traditional pop up cinema night with traditional Romanian food and drinks.


Stories about similar subjects...

"The more video footage I see of the beauty of the landscape in Combe Haven and the principled stand taken by the protesters in freezing conditions, to protest against a destructive, unnecessary and costly scheme, the more I think they've got the wrong people in court" - defendant Tom Druitt.

Update from Balcombe as the end of the drilling approaches.

From the Battle of Balcombe to the Battle of Barton Moss, IGas announce plans to begin drilling next month.

Anti-fracking campaigners plan a 28 day blockade at Balcombe.

Marches, blockades, arrested MPs and one helluva lot of cops...The campaign against the Balcombe fracketeers stepped up this weekend with the arrival of Reclaim the Power.

Day 23 of the Balcombe Blockade and Day 1 of the Reclaim the Power camp.

Sussex Police's Operation Mansell is going almost as badly for them as the Tories' failing efforts to sell shale gas to the UK.

The camp's on the increase and the direct action hasn't stopped.

Twitter: @SchNEWS