Sofia, Bugaria. In an interesting turn of events, a local group of residents has voted against letting a Canadian company have access to an area with known gold deposits in Bulgaria. Of the 68% of the local population that cast their votes in the referendum, оver 97% voted against the mine project.

The residents of Tran in western Bulgaria have voted overwhelmingly against a nearby goldmine restarting production in the latest setback for plans to boost gold output in Southeast Europe. 94% of votes cast in the June 11 local referendum ,held despite strong opposition to the vote from mining group Asarel Medet and the local authorities, were against the plans to resume mining.

The Balkans also saw this development in neighbouring Macedonia, where citizens of the town of Gevgelija resoundingly voted ‘no’ in a referendum on whether to open two gold mines in the area in April.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev welcomed the vote in a Facebook post, writing that it was “an example of how responsible Bulgarian citizens organise themselves to defend their rights and to have a say on a problem not only of local but also of national importance”.

Bulgaria, along with other parts of the world with under-exploited gold resources has seen a spike in interest from mining companies within the last decade as gold prices soared following the onset of the international economic crisis in 2008.

Reservoir Minerals, a company that was purchased in 2016 by Canada-based miner Nevsun Resources, had planned to open the mines on Mount Kozuf after gold deposits were found northwest of Gevgelija. The referendum was held due to concerns that the re-opening of the gold mine would pollute the environment. Asarel Medet commented that the referendum result was expected given the “mass manipulative campaign” among the people.

 

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