Thursday, January 27, 2011

Romania urged to offer Roman site for UNESCO listing


BUCHAREST — The panel in charge of Romania's historical monuments on Wednesday urged the Culture Ministry to propose the Roman remains of Rosia Montana for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The National Commission for historical monuments recommended that the ministry initiate steps "to include Rosia Montana on its tentative list" for UNESCO World Heritage, its president, Virgil Polizu, told AFP.

The inclusion of a historical site in a country's tentative list is the first step in the lengthy process that can lead to a UNESCO World Heritage listing.

The commission's appeal came after the Romanian Academy as well as several organisations involved in preserving the nation's cultural heritage warned against "the threat posed" by a Canadian gold mine project to Rosia Montana and its ancient galleries dating back to Roman times.

But, the mayor of the village, Eugen Furdui, and some local organisations oppose the move as they fear it will compromise the gold mine project and future jobs.

"If Rosia Montana were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, that would automatically mean that mining cannot go through. And we want this mining project to be carried on," Furdui told AFP last year.

The Academy, the National Union of Architects and non-governmental organisations from Rosia Montana have repeatedly called on the Culture Ministry to offer Rosia Montana for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Rosia Montana, a picturesque Carpathian mountain village, is said to hold one of the biggest gold deposits in Europe.

In 1999, RMGC, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Gabriel Resources, obtained a licence to mine gold there.

More than a decade later, the firm has still not been granted all the required environmental and archaeological permits though it insists its project will preserve the local heritage and environment.

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