Romanian intelligence, asked to join parliamentary debate on controversial gold mining project

Romanian intelligence, asked to join parliamentary debate on controversial gold mining project


By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest

The representatives of two Romanian secret services – SRI (the home intelligence) and SIE (the foreign intelligence) have been invited to testify before the special committee the Romanian Parliament has set up to deal with the Rosia Montana gold mining project, amid wide street protests against the cyanide based mining project.

“The lawmakers want to find out if the suspicions concerning the company’s financial reliability are real and about the possible influence exerted by some decision makers. And SRI and SIE know the best” the head of the committee, Darius Valcov said, hinting at speculations some politicians in Bucharest might have intervened in favor of the Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources which administers the project.

A month ago, after PM Victor Ponta backed the project, President Traian Basescu suggested the head of government received money in exchange of his support. “Ponta, how much money did you get from Rosia Montana?” Basescu said, though the question reflected similar past accusations Ponta launched against Basescu when the former was in opposition.

The lawmakers are also going to hear from the minister of Culture and the minister of Justice, since the mining site is believed to contain archaeological patrimony. At the same time, early August, the Ministry of Justice warned the decree Ponta passed later in support of the mining project is unconstitutional.

The special committee is also going to ask for opinions from the Orthodox Church, the Catholic, Unitarian and Reformed Church, the Romanian Academy, the National Bank, the Economical Studies Academy, the Architects Corps and the Ministry of Development. All the hearings are public, the committee decided since the topic is of huge civic interest.

The committee will then issue a report which will lie at the base of a vote in the plenum of the Chamber of Deputies which will make or break the decade long trailing gold mining project.

n the meantime, the anti-Rosia Montana street protests go on, with most of the protesters gathering on weekends and showing no sign of abatement. On Sunday, a human chain was formed around the Parliament’s building, Ceausescu’s former People’s House, the second largest building in the world. Protesters warned that, if the gold mining project is approved by the lawmakers, the country will face a “non-violent revolution”. if they vote against it, then Romania may face a trial in the international courts after Gabriel Resources warned it would seek damages from the Romanian state.