Romania split over Europe’s biggest gold mine

Rosia Montana, Romania – Andrei Gruber lights a cigarette and points through his kitchen window to where a Canadian mining firm wants to set up Europe’s biggest open cast gold mine and change the face of this sleepy Romanian town forever.

The 28-year-old knows mining well. Gruber’s ancestors came to Rosia Montana hundreds of years ago to scour the hills for precious metals. But a scheme by Gabriel Resources is bigger and more destructive than anything this community has seen before.

“Mining is what created Rosia Montana, but that doesn’t mean mining should also destroy it,” Gruber told Al Jazeera. “They cannot start the project while I’m still here. They can’t build a pit over my head. I’d rather be killed at my doorstep.”

The plan has raised tensions in Rosia Montana, pitting neighbour against neighbour, as some residents take mining jobs while others oppose the multi-billion-dollar scheme that could boost the size of Romania’s economy by one percent

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