All over the world, mining companies follow the same patterns in the effort to gain acceptance from the public and from the government; promising to safeguard the community’s welfare and improve the environment while hiding the effects of open-pit mining, they fall far short.
Removing a mountaintop is not a delicate and scarless procedure; it is a hard-hitting, aggressive approach to mineral extraction that irreversibly impacts the natural and human environments.
The public should be educated in understanding that this form of mining forever alters the natural environment and the lives of people who live nearby. There can be no turning back once mining operations begin, though the mining companies speak of land “reclamation” and “rehabilitation”.
These documentary films, made in different communities around the world, are designed to raise the awareness of the public regarding the effects of open pit mining. The public should be presented with both the gains from the mining project as well as its losses. There should be no hesitation in revealing the risks and the irreversible impact on communities, on their future and on the environment.
“Alethea”, 2007, directed by Petra Holzer and Ethem Ozguven in Turkey.
40 minutes, English subtitles
“Gold means brilliance, wealth and, most times, conflict. Since 1989, a number of multinational mining companies have shown interest to extract gold from Turkey. Eurogold, an Australian-Canadian company, was one of them. The proposed technological process involved the discharge of cyanide, which concerned the local communities. Although the residents won the lawsuits filed to the company in all instances, the gold mining continues to this day.” Introduction to the movie presented in Sibiu, at the Astra Documentary Films Festival
A tiny mining exploitation (24 tons of gold and 20 tons of silver) compared with what would be at Roşia Montană, turns up the heat on the communities from a densely populated area.
Watch the documentary ALETHEA
HALKIDIKI PENINSULA, GREECE
“Gold Mines Greek Resistance”, 2004
90 minutes, English subtitles
A documentary about gold mining and the resistance movement in northern Halkidiki, Greece.
Fragments from the movie – with people against mining of Halkidiki
“This is a long story, imagine that I was 28 years old then, and now I am 48 (…). I would like to tell those people who want to build big industries that our interest is to protect our environment and health, because health is the most precious thing. If you are not healthy, you can not enjoy anything. It simply disappears the term of quality of life. “ Dimitra Olymbiada
“Environmental issues do not concern just one or two villages. Are issues of concern for the whole Europe. Cyanogen and arsenic are things that have to do with with everyone, afterall, not only with us. It just happened that we had to deal with and fight against these issues.” Dimitra Olymbiada
“Unfortunately they suffered from pneumonoconiosis. So many died, my husband too, he was 62 years old and the mine killed him. It should be closed down and never opened again! (the mine) People will find ways to survive!” Widow of a miner in Halkidiki
” They used to blackmail people saying … If you want to work for us, give us your land.”
“This is a disaster, not development! A disaster! Perhaps they are so rich that they do not care about destruction, they do not care about anything. But we care, and we want a clean environment. “
“It’s something that you should tell … namely that throughout history, since the times of Alexander the Great, the people of Halkidiki have never worked in their own mines, for prosperity and for the good of the region . At one point, Alexander the Great has organized the expedition, and the people of Halkidiki have worked in the mines for his expedition. Perhaps this is the right thing from the point of view of some historians. From my point of view, no. Then came the French, the Turks, then the company Bodossakis, then Canadians, Americans. And the people of Halkidiki … they really have nothing to say? Well, what they could say is that the widows of Megali Panagia, of 35-40 years, receive pensions from deceased husband. Or about pneumonia. What else to say? That this was the fate of the peninsula. But that is not also its value. It can offer gold, but it can also offer forests, a beautiful natural environment, breeding goats, beekeeping. These are important for today’s society! So let’s finish with mines and gold, lets close them! They should not exist anymore! Let’s forget them forever … to the hell with them! “
ROŞIA MONTANĂ – MONTANA, S.U.A. – GUATEMALA – HONDURAS
Documentary “Roşia Montană Cyanide open-pit in the heart of Carpathian garden”, 2011
90 minutes, English subtitles
A documentary in which there are presented the strategies applied by mining companies in several communities around the world, the drama of the residents and how their lives were changed after opening the mines. It is also presented the opinion of Robert Moran, a renowned hydro-geologist and geochemist who also conducted a study at Roşia Montană in 2007.
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