BUCHAREST (AP) — Ancient Roman mining galleries in a mountainous Romanian region that has been at the center of a long, fierce battle between a Canadian mining company and environmentalists were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list Tuesday.
Rosia Montana, located in western Romania, is home to Europe’s largest gold deposits. Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company that gained concession rights in 1999, planned to extract the gold and silver over a 16-year period.
The mining project, which the Romanian government owned a 20% stake in, also would involve razing four mountain tops, displacing hundreds of local families and leaving behind a waste lake containing cyanide, a toxic chemical used in the process of gold extraction.
The project drew opposition from environmental and civic activists who helped organize protests that drew tens of thousands of people to Romania’s streets.
Some of the activists called for the area to be included on the UNESCO list. The Romanian government withdrew its support for the project in 2014.