Over 70,000 voters are expected to polls on December 9, in order to have their say on restarting mining operations in the Alba County. The referendum is scheduled to take place simultaneously with the parliamentary elections, in 35 localities of the Apuseni Mountains. Citizens are invited to answer the question: ‘Do you agree with reopening mining operations in the Apuseni Mountains and the Rosia Montana mine?’, evz.ro informs.The members of the County Council (CJ) accepted the idea of the referendum being held together with the general elections, in order to cut costs and to make sure that turnout will be enough to validate the results. “For the last 10 years we have not known what to do: either submit development projects in tourism, make a sewerage system, or focus on industrial development,” said the president of CJ Alba, Ion Dumitrel. Some 5,500 miners will enter technical unemployment these months if no solution is found, while other thousands already lost their jobs when their mines got closed. The Rosia Montana project alone is expected to inject EUR 24 bln in the Romanian economy. “Here, more than half of the active population is no longer entitled even to unemployment benefits. For eight years we have been trying to promote tourism in the region, as agriculture is out of question,” explains the mayor of Abrud, Nicolae Simina. “The government only announces unemployment from the mining sector, but puts nothing in place,” the local official added.Mayors say that mining should not be done only for the sake of jobs, as it should be “intelligently” conceived so that to bring profit both to state and investors. The mining projects that are waiting for state approval are located in Rosia Montana and Certej. The former project already created 500 jobs, with 6,000 more – direct and indirect ones – to be made during the construction of the mine.