An archaeological report the Romanian government has kept secret for three years reveals the historical significance of an ancient gold mine set for excavation by Canadian company Gabriel Resources, Fox News reported
As a result of the report, officials in Bucharest red-tagged the project by withholding their approval of it, a story in Britain's The Independent said
. The news elicited cheers from banner-wielding Romanians who want to protect the Rosia Montana area in western Transylvania's Apuseni Mountains.
The area is "the most extensive and most important underground Roman gold mine known anywhere," the report said, adding UNESCO should include it as a World Heritage site.
Pro Patrimonio, a nonprofit organization with the goal of protecting Romania's cultural roots, paid for the report, which was completed by two British archaeology experts. Despite its findings, Rosia Montana Mayor Eugen Furdui remains in support of the excavation.
"If Rosia Montana were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, that would automatically mean that mining [could not] go through," Furdui reportedly said after reading the report in 2010. "And we want this mining project to be carried on."
The mining project could entail the spreading of up to 40 tons of cyanide per day, threatening nearby villages and damaging the environment in the name of profit.
"I am glad the public [can now see] that information," said Mike Dawson, an archaeology consultant who teamed up with the report's authors. "It deserves to be out there."
Jonathan Henry, Gabriel Resources' chief executive, will be allowed to revise his mining proposal and resubmit it to the government.
"Our goal remains to bring the project through to a reality that will significantly benefit Romania and Rosia Montana," Henry said.
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