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March 22, 2023

Independent patrimony experts support mining in Rosia Montana

  • Following six months of research and consultations with experts in the field, the Independent Group for Monitoring the Cultural Patrimony of Rosia Montana (GIMPCRM) submitted its conclusions and recommendations to RMGC.
  • The experts’ opinion confirms the fact that the cultural landscape in Rosia Montana is mostly the result of the locals’ main occupation, mining. The project continues the local traditions, by completing the natural succession of technological phases in mining evolution and contributes to avoiding severe depopulation, due to the development perspectives it gives to the area.
  • GIMPCRM also presents a set of 17 specific recommendations, most of them to RMGC, some to relevant authorities, to ensure that the patrimony protection and management measures generate full beneficial effects.

The Rosia Montana Project represents the only concrete solution for the rehabilitation and restoration of the patrimony in Rosia Montana, due to the financial investments proposed by Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC). This is the main conclusion of the Independent Group for Monitoring the Cultural Patrimony in Rosia Montana (GIMPCRM), following six months of analysis.

At the same time, GIMPCRM believes that the alternative development plans for Rosia Montana, starting from the premise of the in situ preservation, and subsequent inclusion in the circuit of all patrimony vestiges, mostly consist of only generous statements, without a realistic basis for implementation.

The Rosia Montana case should be treated with great responsibility but without prejudices and without exaggerated subjectivism. We have analyzed the mining project in great detail, we have exchanged opinions with many experts and what we need to do is not choose between patrimony protection and industrial development, but find the best method through which the industrial development can ensure patrimony protection. The mining project proposes a very viable solution, which certainly needs careful monitoring, but it allows the salvation of a cultural heritage very important for the Apuseni Mountains and for Romania. No real constructive proposal or initiative of reasonable compromise came from the organizations and individuals who spoke for the ban of the industrial activity,” said Razvan Theodorescu, member of the Romanian Academy and member of GIMPCRM.

As revealed by the data and information presented in the GIMPCRM report, Rosia Montana does not meet the criteria and standards stipulated by UNESCO regulations. Even under UNESCO protection, in lack of a comprehensive investment program, which neither UNESCO, nor public funding can ensure, the patrimony at Rosia Montana cannot be rescued. “The constant degradation and destruction to which some of the Romanian patrimony assets, included on UNESCO list, are subject, shows that the protection of this forum, in lack of a coherent national patrimony protection program, is not a valid solution,” experts’ conclusions show. “The appeal for the registration of Rosia Montana in Romania’s tentative list to UNESCO is nothing but an attempt to use the prestigious organization, with a view to artificially stopping an industrial project. Technically speaking, and if possible, such an inclusion would not bring, for the moment and in the medium-term future, any physical change in the deplorable condition of some of the local monuments. On the medium and long term, it actually means throwing the problem in a future equally lacking financial resources. UNESCO protection, for instance, does not rescue from decay and perdition localities such as St. Louis, Senegal, with a significantly more substantial patrimony than Rosia Montana. The deplorable condition of other mining sites in Romania, such as those at Brad, Bucium and Almasul Mare, equally relevant for the history of mining in the Roman Dacia like that of Rosia Montana, is illustrative for the real attitude towards all patrimony objectives in Romania, when those are not associated with other type of interests.”

We have been waiting with great interest the conclusions of GIMPCRM members, to whom we thank for their initiative to take part in the analysis of the Rosia Montana patrimony, a highly emotional topic. Their opinions confirm the fact that this project has been designed with responsibility and it proposes concrete solutions for patrimony rehabilitation. We will carefully analyze the recommendations, like we did whenever experts in various fields, truly concerned with the mining project, have submitted their recommendstions, and we will take the necessary measures, as appropriate,” said Dragos Tanase, managing director of RMGC.

In the end of the submitted document, GIMPCRM recommends the competent authorities to speed up the decision-making process with regards to the implementation of the mining project proposed by RMGC. The extension of the uncertainty, the lack of investments in patrimony, as well as its advanced degradation can only get us quickly close to the moment when the disastrous situation of most of the patrimony assets will take an irreversible turn. GIMPCRM draws the attention that the lack of coherent national policies in the field, the means for the application of the existing legal provisions, turns the situation in Rosia Montana in an illustrative one for the status of the national patrimony,” patrimony experts underline.

GIMPCRM was founded in February 2011, its members being: Acad. Alexandru Vulpe, President of the Archaeology and Historical Science Department of the Romanian Academy, Acad. Răzvan Theodorescu, member of the Arts, Architecture and Audio-Visual Department of the Romanian Academy, General Secretary of the International Association of European South-Eastern Studies (UNESCO), Acad. Ioan Aurel Pop, member of the Archaeology and Historical Science Department of the Romanian Academy, Prof. Univ. Dr. Doc. Nicolae Gudea, Babeş-Bolyai University from Cluj-Napoca, Conf. Univ. Dr. Vasile Moga, 1 Decembrie University from Alba Iulia, Prof. Univ. Dr. Ioan Opriş, Valahia University from Târgovişte, Conf. Univ. Dr. Alexandru Diaconescu, Faculty of History and Philosophy within Babeş-Bolyai University from Cluj-Napoca, Conf. Univ. Dr. Florin Anghel, Faculty of History and Political Sciences within Ovidius University from Constanţa and Univ. Prof. dr. Augustin Ioan, “Ioan Mincu” University of Architecture, Bucharest.

Other GIMPCRM conclusions affirm that:

  • The archaeological researches conducted between 2001 and 2006, within “Alburnus Maior” National Research Program were comprehensive, rigorous, conducted in a professional manner.
  • The patrimony of Rosia Montana, mainly the architectural one, is in a deplorable condition, being in a real danger of disappearance. Its rescue is not only imperative, but it is possible precisely by resuming the mining activity in the area or by the Romanian State providing significant funds and logistics. In lack of a massive financial intervention, within around 5-10 years, the degradation of the architectonic fund would reach a limit where no restoration/conservation activities would be possible anymore.
  • The elements with cultural patrimony values researched, which cannot be valorized or preserved “in situ” on objective grounds (extremely dangerous underground areas, flooded areas, etc.) can be replicated at natural scale as it is done in many museum settings in Europe. Similar solutions have been applied to sites in Killhope (Great Britain) and Lascaux (France), the superior technological level of the replicas allowing a minute reconstruction of all details.
  • The collateral investments (environmental reconstruction, the building of utility infrastructure, social cohesion, etc.) are critical in order to rescue and valorize the patrimony objectives. The documentations reviewed revealed the fact that only the mining company RMGC has thus far proposed a sustained development from a financial viewpoint in this regard.
  • Agricultural tourism, based on individual household, is not sufficient to permanently provide or even supplement a self-supporting community. This reality cannot even be changed as a result of an urgent capital infusion, meant to facilitate the zonal development of agro-tourism, given the subjective and objective factors.

The main recommendations formulated by GIMPCRM include:

  • Full restoration by owner RMGC of the patrimony buildings in its ownership and revitalization of the historical center of the locality.
  • GIMPCRM recommends RMGC to ensure, in the sites where inhabitants from Rosia Montana have been or will be relocated, all conditions needed for the preservation of the community’s cultural identity, including by building churches (according to the principle that the church follows the community.)
  • The Group recommends an intensification of the efforts to finalize the idea project for the set-up of the mining museum, proposed by RMGC, as well as to complete the project for the restoration of the funerary monument from Tăul Găuri.
  • GIMPCRM recommends the immediate establishment of the Rosia Montana Foundation for Sustainable Development to get involved in patrimony assets management works and in the preparation of the policies and programs to increase the capacity of the local community, so as to quickly take over the main activities on the correct use and management of the patrimony assets – operation of the cultural resources of the site.
  • GIMPCRM asks RMGC to accept an independent expert review of the monuments at the end of the mining period and, where such an expertise requires, to reconsolidate and correct any potential damages to these monuments.
  • GIMPCRM recommends that a strategy and policy is implemented so as to provide attractive packages to the families which remained in the protected area to continue living on the premises. Furthermore, it recommends the strategic evaluation of the relocation of the families which are still living on the industrial premises in the future restored houses of the protected area, thus preventing the decay of the community.

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