Stop "Dirty Gold," the Rosia Montana Open-Pit Cyanide Mine in Transylvania
PBS airs documentary on Cyanide Mine in Transylvania... Rumania plans the destruction of churches, cemeteries, homes and displacing an entire village to make room for one-mile-wide, open-pit cyanide mine, the largest gold mine in Europe.
Rumania annexed Transylvania and the Banat from Hungary after World War I at the Treaty of Trianon where Hungary lost an unprecedented 2/3 of her territory, 1/3 of her ethnic Hungarian population, and over 90% of her national railroads and natural resources. Transylvania, and expecially towns and villages inhabited by ethnic Hungaria communities, has long been a target for exploitation by the Rumanian government. Ceaucescu wanted to raze entire Hungarian vilages and replace them with communist-style, highly polluting industrial plants.
Today, over two decades after the Rumanian revolution that ended the brutal Ceaucescu dictatorship, another historic Translyvanian village with a significant ethnic Hungarian community, Rosia Montana (Verespatak in Hungarian), a gold producing area for over a millenia, is the site of another battle as the Rumanian government and international business join forces to divide an impoverished community in order to displace residents, flood huge areas, and establish an open-pit cyanide mine to extract what's left of the gold.
In 2000, the world watched in horror as a dam containing toxic waste material from the Baia Mare Aurul gold mine (Nagybánya in Hungarian) in North Western Romania burst and released 100,000 cubic meters of waste water, heavily contaminated with cyanide, into the Lapus and Somes tributaries of the river Tisza, one of the biggest in Hungary. Protestors warn of another cyanide-induced Rumanian environmental disaster.
PBS Television presented a documentary film on the planned open pit cyanide gold mine at Verespatak in Transylvania, now called Rosia Montana after Rumanian annexation. In "Gold Futures," WIDE ANGLE profiles rural farmers and townspeople confronting a choice, as a Canadian company prepares to excavate a massive open-pit gold mine where their village still stands. Hungarian film-maker Tibor Kocsis is cinematographer, director and editor of Gold Futures, and has been following the story of Rosia Montana for more than five years.
"Gold Futures" is a David-and-Goliath story set in a scenic Romanian village in the heart of Transylvania. At stake: Europes largest deposit of gold ore - and a 2000-year-old village community. Now, as a Canadian company (RMGC) plans to excavate the largest open-pit gold mine in Europe, mineral wealth and badly-needed jobs compete with time- honored rural traditions and concerns about poisoning the environment.
RMGC's planned use of cyanide raises flags for some wary villagers who fear an environmental disaster like the one that occurred in 2000, when a ruptured dam at a nearby mine unleashed toxic cyanide sludge into the river system, contaminating the drinking water of millions of people and killing more than 1200 tons of fish downriver in Hungary.
In addition to the threat of pollution, the project will mean the displacement of the entire village and all its residents. Excavation of the new one-mile-wide mine can't begin until hundreds of houses and nearby shops, churches and even graveyards are demolished. Hungarians and Rumanians lived peacfully side-by-side for centuries. Together, joined by the world community, are working together to fight against the mine. [download the Press Release]
Why So Many Hungarians Across the Border?
One thousand years of nation building successfully delineated groups based on culture, religion, geography, and other attributes to create the countries with which we are so familiar. While some Western European nations would continue power struggles and princely battles and civil wars, Hungary, founded in 896, was a peaceful multi-ethnic state for a 1000 years and her borders were virtually unchanged. Until 1920...
The Treaty of Trianon in 1920... in the aftermath of WWI, was extremely harsh on Hungary and unjustifiably one-sided. The resulting "treaty" lost Hungary an unprecedented 2/3 of her territory, and 1/2 of her total population or 1/3 of her ethnic-Hungarian population. Add to this the loss of up to 90% of vast natural resources, industry, railways, and other infrastructure. The clear winner of the land grab, was Rumania, who, established only 60 years earlier, more than doubled in size overnight.
Ethnic Distribution in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1910 (Hungarians shown in red)
Hungarian populations declined significantly after forced removals such as the Benes Decrees and other pograms, the effects of WWI, and Trianon in 1920. With continued pressure and discriminative policies such as the 2009 Slovak Language Law, this trend continued over the past 90 years.
[read more on the Treaty of Trianon]
You will need the free Adobe Reader to open the following files. Click the image to download.
Articles and Essays by AHF Members
Congressional Resolutions and Records