About the Issue
Romania is a place where change and continuity collide. One of the EU’s newest members, Romania is working to follow in its European neighbors’ footsteps, trying to develop a strong economy, with viable industries that will provide its citizens with adequate jobs. The mining industry in Romania has historically been a steady source of economic benefit for the region, from the time of the Romans, who first plundered the mountains for gold, to the Hapsburg empire, and later the Communist era when workers were showered with high wages and benefits. But following the revolution of 1989, the state-subsidized industry collapsed – leading to widespread unemployment and poverty in mining villages. Rosia Montana, a 2,000 year-old mining community tucked away in the mountains of Romania, suffers from a 70 percent unemployment rate. This impoverished community is also sitting on 300 tons of gold and 1,200 tons of silver and stands to reap significant benefits if mining activities resume. The price of gold has nearly doubled over the past ten years: in 2007, an ounce of gold is selling for $700 in the world market. On the other hand, the renewal of mining would require the displacement of most of the village. Gold may bring prosperity to Rosia Montana – but a golden future has its price.
About the Film
Gold Futures is a David-and-Goliath story set in a scenic Romanian village in the heart of Transylvania. At stake: a massive deposit of gold ore – and a 2000-year-old village community that has existed since the ancient Romans founded a mining town on the edge of their empire. Now, as a Canadian company plans the largest open-pit gold mine in Europe, mineral wealth and badly-needed jobs compete with time-honored rural traditions and concerns about poisoning the environment. Set against the backdrop of Rosia Montana’s misty forests, Gold Futures captures the unfolding conflict between villagers who welcome the company’s buy-out offers and their neighbors who remain fiercely defensive of their way of life and anxious to maintain the stunning landscape of their homeland.