Over 72,000 citizens with the right to vote from 35 administrative-territorial units of Alba County should have voted yesterday in a referendum organised simultaneously with the parliamentary elections, over restarting or not mining operations in the Apuseni Mountains and at Rosia Montana.The referendum was organised by the County Council in 35 communes and towns, most of them located in the Apuseni area of Alba County. According to Mediafax, the president of the Alba County Council, Ion Dumitrel said Saturday that it is for the first time that a referendum of this kind, on a social-economic theme is held in Alba. “The referendum request came from 35 mayors of towns and communes in the Alba County, as these communities can be affected by the development of mining operations, in perspective: positively affected by creating jobs and increasing local budgets, but also negatively if the state and those in charge with protecting the environment will not take measures so those who exploit natural resources observe the strict laws imposed with this regard by Romania and the European Union,” Dumitrel mentioned. He added that the region where the referendum was organised suffered from the closure of mine, so this consultation was necessary to learn the real opinion of people about this matter. “The lack of jobs in these former mining zones had a negative impact on the population and resulted in the depopulation of the area and a dramatic collapse of living standards,” Dumitrel added. The Rosia Montana mining project is developed by Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), whose main shareholder is Gabriel Resources.Romania’s most important gold deposit is at Rosia Montana, in the Alba County. It is evaluated at 300 tons of gold and 1,600 tons of silver; it was granted under concession in view of exploitation by RMGC. The company is controlled by Canadian firm Gabriel Resources, which holds 80.46 pc of its shares. The Romanian state is represented through the Minvest Deva company, with a participation of 19.31 pc in RMGC.