Crucified on a Cross of Goldmining


Rosia Montana, ghost town

There are two new films out on a contested gold mine in Romania, one airing on PBS tonight. Rosia Montana, a rural Transylvanian town (pictured right, in all of its glory), sits on top of $10 billion in gold.

PBS viewers will get one side of the story about the village:

PBS describes the film as a "David-and-Goliath story" [of poor villagers versus big mining corporations, but] viewers who see pristine shots of the Rosia valley won't realize the hills hide a huge, abandoned communist-era mine, leaking toxic heavy metals into local streams–or that while the modern mining project will level four hills to create an open pit, it will also clean up the old mess at no cost to the Romanian treasury.

Another documentary about the same mine, Mine Your Own Business, presents another angle. They say the biggest threat to the people of Rosia Montana "comes from upper-class Western environmentalism that seeks to keep them poor and unable to clean up the horrific pollution caused by Ceausescu's mining":

Local unemployed miner Gheorghe Lucian says it best: "People have no food to eat. . . . I know what I need–a job." Mr. Soros's Romanian Open Society Foundation is touting "alternative economic activities such as organic agriculture and eco-tourism," unrealistic at best.

Read more about both films here.