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Historical Value of Ancient Roman Gold Mine Threatens New Efforts to Mine Deposit

December 03, 2013254 view(s)

A Romanian dispute over the historical value of an ancient Roman gold mine has been reignited following a leaked government report. The battle concerns whether the gold mine should be preserved for its historical rarity or mined for its valuable contents, according to a new report from Fox News.

The report in question was prepared three years ago by British archeology experts, who had been asked to determine if the gold mine in question might be worthy of the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finding in favor of the site’s chances of becoming a favored UNESCO site, the report prompted the Romanian government to stay an approval of invasive operations at the site and nearby, according to a report in the Independent, a British newspaper.

Authored by two professors of Roman archeology and a director of archaeology at an environmental consulting firm, the report called the site "the most extensive and most important underground Roman gold mine known anywhere."

“They had kept the report under wraps for three years. It was commissioned by Romania’s ministry of culture and funded by the non-profit organization Pro Patrimonio, which works to protect the country’s cultural heritage,” read the story from Fox News.

The ancient gold mine at the center of the international controversy is located in the village of Rosia Montana, in western Transylvania’s Apuseni Mountains.

"The village is located near one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits. Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources wants to dig for gold, which would threaten surrounding villages and mountains, and could involve the use of 40 tons of cyanide daily," reported Fox News.

"If Rosia Montana were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, that would automatically mean that mining [could not] go through," countered Rosia Montana's mayor, Eugen Furdui in 2010 voicing his support of the mining plans. "And we want this mining project to be carried on."

'Hundreds of thousands of protesters have demanded the Romanian government drop legislation that would have enabled Gabriel Resources to proceed with the gold mining project," stated the Fox News article.

The report was written by Andrew Wilson of Oxford University, David Mattingly of Leicester University and environmental consultant Mike Dawson.

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