RMGC Confirms commitment to Patrimony.
According to a study conducted by the British architect and planner Dennis G. Rodwell, UNESCO expert and ICOMOS member, consultant of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Division of Cultural Heritage, a proposal from a number of cultural foundations to list Rosia Montana as World Heritage is contrary to UNESCO guidelines and has no merit.
In the report titled A reflection on the relevance and suitability of Rosia Montan? as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dennis Rodwell shows that the proposal of including Rosia Montana on the UNESCO tentative list is “fatally flawed” and “should be dropped immediately.” “The suggestion to place Ro?ia Montan? on the Tentative List for Romania challenges the integrity of the World Heritage process and has the potential to discredit Romania in its obligations as a signatory of the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention as well as to weaken its position in cases of genuine merit,” writes the expert. A summary of the independent report from Dennis Rodwell can be summarized as follows:
The proposal to list Rosia Montana as World Heritage is contrary to UNESCO guidelines
A UNESCO Heritage Site has to have the support of the local community – the Rosia Montana local community is against this proposal
UNESCO, an organization whose reputation is focused on genuine conservation of world heritage sites, is in danger of being linked to NGO organizations who are opposed to continuity of the industrial character of Rosia Montana
RMGC understands the preoccupation of the public opinion and academic circles towards the patrimony aspects implied by the implementation of the Rosia Montana mining project, and therefore the company engaged the UNESCO expert Dennis Rodwell to prepare an independent report evaluating the status of urban and architectural patrimony in Rosia Montana. The conclusions of this study are to be integrated into the specific company strategy.
In support of his statement, the British expert refers to the most recent UNESCO operational guidelines, as they have been reiterated by the most recent Meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Brasilia in the summer of this year, according to which the support of the community is essential in listing a particular site on the tentative list. In his report, the UNESCO expert is also drawing attention on the fact that by publicly supporting the Rosia Montana inclusion on the tentative list, certain NGOs are actually attempting to involve a reputable organization such as UNESCO into a dispute designed to block an industrial project, rather than to genuinely protect the patrimony. “This proposal coincides with an NGO campaign aimed at blocking the Rosia Montan? Gold Corporation (RMGC) mining project for the area and cannot be disassociated from this campaign,” the British expert states in his report.
Referring to the situation of other mining sites worldwide, Dennis Rodwell underlines the fact that generally no mining site has been entered on the World Heritage List until after all commercial mining operations had terminally ceased, “with the single exception of the Wieliczka Salt Mines (Poland), which for a variety of artistic and touristic reasons is a special case.” Moreover, “there is no instance where a mining site has been promoted for inclusion on the World Heritage List to the purpose of preventing ongoing commercial mining operations”, Dennis Rodwell clearly states in his report, after analyzing mining sites that are already inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The patrimony in Rosia Montana is a major component of the mining project proposed by RMGC. The company has undertaken a significant archaeological research program in the area, totaling 11 million USD, which has brought to daylight vestiges previously unknown, through the intense efforts of 80 Romanian and foreign experts. At the same time, RMGC inaugurated, in February 2010, the first fully restored house in the historical center of the commune, currently hosting the permanent mining history exhibition “The Gold of the Apuseni Mountains”. To continue works of research, restoration and valorization of the patrimony in the area, RMGC has already allocated an additional budget of 35 million USD to create a modern mining museum, to protect in situ the Roman galleries in the historical center and to fully restore the whole center, once the mining project starts.
ABOUT DENNIS RODWELL
British architect Dennis Rodwell is a member of numerous organizations and institutions active in the sector of patrimony protection and sustainable development, including International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA) and European Association for Urban History (EAUH). In Romania, the British architect has worked in the last ten years, working extensively in the field of cultural heritage conservation and public awareness. This involvement has included, from 2003 onwards, support to the efforts to place the historic centre of Sibiu on the UNESCO World Heritage List, process yet unfinished.
With the purpose of a thorough documentation, Dennis Rodwell repeatedly visited Rosia Montana between May and November 2010, when he had several occasions to discuss with the Mayor of Rosia Montana, Eugen Furdui, and the inhabitants of the commune.
Dennis Rodwell is currently undertaking research for a paper that is due to be published in 2011 that will reflect on the first 40 years of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972–2012) and directions for its future.