Romanian Gold Mining Activist Wins Prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize
April 18, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/18/2005
San Francisco, CA: Stephanie Roth, a mining activist in Romania, has been awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. Considered the Nobel Prize for the Environment, the Goldman Environmental Prize is awarded each year to outstanding grassroots environmentalists from each of the six continental regions. Roth is this year's European winner. The award draws attention to the considerable environmental and human impacts of gold mining.
Roth is being recognized for her work with the community group Alburnus Maior, in support of landowners and farmers in Rosia Montana, Romania who oppose the development of a cyanide leach gold mine. If constructed by Toronto-based Gabriel Resources, Rosia Montana would become Europe's largest open-pit gold mine operation. The proposed mine would transform the densely inhabited valley of Rosia Montana into four open pits and the neighboring Corna Valley into an unlined tailings pond for mine waste, and displace more than 2,000 people.
Working with local farming families who oppose the mine and refuse to sell their lands, Roth has helped build a strong civil society movement across Romania grounded in grassroots organizing. Religious leaders and archaeologists have spoken out against the project, which would destroy churches, cemeteries, Roman sites, and other archaeological treasures.
Faced with such strong opposition and an inability to secure environmental permits for the mine, Gabriel Resources' stock price plummeted in May 2004. But a few months later, Denver-based Newmont Mining Company -- the world's largest gold producer --agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Gabriel which immediately boosted Gabriel Resources' stock price. Community opposition to the project remains strong and clear, and the residents of Rosia Montana are prepared to fight for their land, culture, and way of life.
EARTHWORKS, a Washington-DC based environmental organization, has worked with Stephanie Roth and Alburnus Maior in their efforts to protect Rosia Montana from irresponsible mining development. Alburnus Maior is also a member of the No Dirty Gold campaign.
Each winner receives a $125,000 award.
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For more information:
Stephanie Roth, Alburnus Maior, (tel) 415-517-6844
Goldman Environmental Prize, (tel) 415-788-9090
For more information and print-quality photos, visit www.goldmanprize.org.
To learn more about Rosia Montana, visit www.rosiamontana.org.