It’s a long way from Romania to Finland, but that hasn’t stopped hard-line Green MEP Satu Hassi, of Finland, from commenting on a gold-mining proposal in Romania.
There is a plan to start gold mining at Rosia Montana in Romania. The plan represents a major opportunity for Romania, and will provide much needed employment in a rural area. Indeed it could even be a significant contributor to the EU economy. But of course the Greens are desperate to oppose any new industrial venture, and are talking up the supposed risks of the project. Gold mining uses cyanide! Shock horror! They fail to mention that cyanide is routinely used in gold mining at other locations, including mines in Finland, with no significant problems. There are (as usual) very comprehensive EU regulations covering the safety aspects of gold mining, and I am led to believe that these regulations are effective.
Seppu Maula is a former (for twenty years) Mayor of Kittila in Finnish Lapland, in the rural far north of the country. There is a gold mining operation in Kittila, also using cyanide. Mr. Maula has said that he consulted widely with the local population before the project went ahead, and that it was welcomed by local people because of the economic and employment benefits. He said that safety was well controlled, and the environment well protected. Most significantly, he said “The problems which do exist are purely political, in my opinion”. He adds that the project is seen as a success, and a second mine is planned.
He has also visited Romania and the Rosia Montana site, and expresses a view that it is essentially similar to the Finnish site. Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has also checked out the Finnish experience, and given it a very positive reference.
But this is not good enough for Satu Hassi, who insisted recently that dead fish had been seen near the Kittila site. When this was put to Mr. Maula, he said it was the first he’s heard of it. After a recent committee hearing in the European parliament, it was put to Ms. Hassi that her party, the Greens, provide the Environment Minister for Finland. If there is a serious problem with dead fish and other environmental concerns at Kittila, why hasn’t the Finnish government mounted an investigation? She declined to answer the question.
This all fits into a consistent pattern for the Greens across Europe. They hate development, and industry, and progress, and prosperity. Whether in Romania or in Balcombe, they will seek to block and delay any new project with over-blown scare stories. They will exaggerate and propagate any negative stories (and in some cases invent a few negative stories of their own). They abuse the so-called “Precautionary Principle”. After all everything is dangerous one way or another, even getting out of bed in the morning. (Tolkein: “You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Gloin, for you are dangerous yourself, in your fashion”). So let’s not do it, they argue. But given the parlous state of Europe’s economies, we can no longer tolerate this hugely damaging approach. It is difficult to imagine that any industry or technology that we rely on today would have got established in the past with the Satu Hassis and the Caroline Lucases standing in the way.
Perhaps we should all live in cold and darkness and hunger, subsisting on one acre and a cow.