It is the gold rush many Romanians do not want, despite the government granting the project National Interest status last week, and preparing a draft law.
For 15 years Canada’s Rosia Montana mining company has been trying to massively expand old Roman gold mines and use 12,000 tonnes of cyanide a year to extract the estimated 300 tonnes of gold and 1,500 tonnes of silver hidden underground. Sunday was a day, and night, of national protests.
“This law breaks constitutional laws. It breaks property laws for the people in Rosia Montana, heritage laws and clean environment laws,” said artist Mihnea Blidariu.
Bundled into the law is a project by Chevron to explore the use of the controversial fracking mining technique to extract gas.
Thousands demonstrated in the capital and several other cities. In the capital Bucharest a sitdown protest blocked a main road.
Few residents in Rosia Montana itself oppose the project.