From: Paul Wood Adrian Hamzescu Gabriel Resources, a Canadian company which intends to start gold mining in Rosia Montana, is to submit the necessary documentation to the Ministry of Environment and Waters Management (MMGA) by the end of the summer. The Canadian company has already started operations to obtain environmental approval for the biggest gold mine in Europe, declared Oyvind Hushovd, general manager of the company. Local authorities have received the first part of an environmental impact study, showing that the project will not affect the area but will reduce current pollution and create new jobs in an area with high unemployment. The environmental impact study will first be submitted to a public debate. "We hope we will receive the government's opinions by the middle of May," said Hushovd. The minister of Environment and Waters Management, Sulfina Barbu, stated that the process to obtain the environmental approval will be a long one. The project was contested by ecologist and civil rights activists. Hungarian officials also protested against the gold mine exploitation. According to Gabriel Resources representatives, thousands of villagers will be relocated, a process which could last a long time due to property deeds, some issued at the beginning of the previous century. Currently 87 percent of the deeds have been cleared, while only 43 percent of the land necessary for moving the inhabitants has been acquired. "We would like to see progress in the process of the environmental authorization before continuing acquisitions," declared Hushovd. According to a working group called "Save Rosia Montana ", economics and the environment are in conflict and the projected costs do not reflect environmental controls which will certainly be necessary unless the government takes the huge risk of flouting EU requirements whilst in the process of negotiating entry. The total direct benefits for Romania, as estimated by the company will be 583 million USD, which will go to the local and central budget, stated Gabriel Resources' representatives. Referring to the historical locations, the mining company promised to preserve all the archaeological sites, which are currently deteriorating. The new mine, processing plant and tailings storage facility will be developed in accordance with all relevant Romanian laws and regulations and EU Directives, according to the company officials. The Rosia Montana area has been the most important gold producing province in Europe for over 2,000 years. Gold production dates from the pre-Roman period, through the Roman occupation in AD 102. The most recent phase of development (from the 1950s to 1989) was undertaken by the Romanian state during which extensive underground workings were carried out.
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