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The Mining Fishbowl Syndrome

Have you ever worked in a glass building where your every movement could be scrutinized by others who don’t have the slightest inkling as to what you do or value you add?

An easy target

In some respects, this analogy can be equated to the mining industry. For many years, the sector was perceived and looked upon as the perpetrator of exploitation with scant disregard for the people or the environment within which they operate. Mining operations have always been and remain an easy target to criticise. Characteristically, they are large tangible assets, with multiple disciplines, operating in an open financial and environmental system. Mines do not have an end consumer product per se, merely a raw material produced for others to fabricate. It can also be argued that the mining sector has in the past done little to protect itself from criticism, or even to educate a wider audience on their part in the global economy and the invaluable support given to surrounding communities. Mankind has always mined, so historically there will always be examples of incidents. However, like other industries, modern responsible mining is different, with technological advances and ever increasing levels of accountability evident in the majority of public and privately owned companies.

Does any sector contribute more to social responsibility programmes?

Is there, or has there ever been an economic sector that contributes more per dollar, to social upliftment programmes, tax revenue, infrastructure or skills development? Mines by design with large labour requirements are similar to micro cities; often providing energy, schools, clinics, infrastructure, employment and recreational facilities to their surrounding communities.  When compared to other US$ billion industries; do the likes of the automobile, medical, financial, consumer, sport, technology or transport delivery sectors contribute anything close to what the mining industry contributes to their local communities? In fact, many operators within these other sectors strategically position themselves to minimise any social responsibility programmes and tax.

Let’s also talk safety

Mining is hazardous by nature and any accident is of course regrettable. However, modern mining in general is accountable, the number of accidents recorded overall are incredibly small given the manhours worked, and operations generally strive for continuous improvement. Comparing industries directly, it would be interesting to know how many Uber or Amazon drivers have accidents per day, how the decisions made by banking institutions effect the mental health of their clients, or even, how many social media posts hosted by IT companies have unintended consequences resulting in lapses in safety concentration or feelings of isolation or depression?

The fog is lifting

The fog is however slowly lifting and the world is waking up to the fact that it needs mining now more than ever. The old adage ‘if it’s not grown, then it is mined’ has never been truer as world economics fanatically pursues the path of net zero, all underpinned by critical mineral mining. No longer the bad egg in the economic basket, it now is the golden egg which needs to be nurtured.

A case study in the ‘mining fishbowl syndrome’

The years of interference by a German sponsored ‘environmental’ NGO, operating in Romania, is a case in point. Objecting to Euro Sun Mining’s Rovina Valley Project (RVP) on ‘environmental permitting’ grounds, far removed from realities on the ground, the NGO has negated to understand that the project’s environmental impact is negligible and strictly controlled by EU law. Using obstructive legal argument, the NGO has also had scant regard for the wishes of the local population, who desperately want economic investment to create employment, infrastructure and to save their villages from ruin following years of interference. The RVP is in fact arguably one of Europe’s finest examples of mining projects that will deliver minimal environmental disruption and restore beleaguered villages into economic hubs, honouring mining traditions that span thousands of years. The tide is however turning in Romania as the merits on responsible mining become better understood.

Europe is changing its mining strategy

For some European countries, the trend this last decade of unbalanced environmental political extremism has come at the expense of energy and economic security. Ironically these politics ultimately undermine the ability to meet net zero targets and have transformed economies to rely more on China. The reality is that policies needed to change, because an impoverished future European population and stressed economy, will not care about net zero if their hierarchical needs change. Through education and desire for critical mineral security, the slow realisation that policies need to be balanced is beginning to filter through legislative actions . This includes new legislation such as the Critical Raw Materials Act which includes recognition that mining activity supports economic sustainability, and is key to the energy transition.

Turning the fishbowl upside down

Maybe it is time for the mining fishbowl to be turned upside down and to be used instead as a viewing glass to see which other sectors contribute as much per capita. For too long now it has been too easy to throw stones at mining in the name of the environment, safety or even economics. With no real understanding of modern responsible mining methodology, it may be time to re-evaluate the crucial role played in local and regional development, the absolutely positive contribution made to the wellbeing of millions of people in mining communities around the world, and the fundamental role supplying the world’s raw materials. It is also time for the mining industry to stand proud and be recognised as the enabler to a brighter future and the supplier of the green energy transition. Simply put,  economic sustainability, net zero and the entire energy transition depend on the contribution made by responsible mining. There is also no other sector to pick up the economic and social development mantle which has always been held by the mining sector.


The above opinion piece (and vent) is my own and does not represent the opinions of any organisations I work for. I remain a proud supporter of responsible mining and advocate for the mining profession to achieve the vocational status and recognition it so rightly deserves.

Published by

Richard Dolamore

April 2024

A Look Back At Our Exploration Success

Exploration is one of the key stages in the mining lifecycle. This is where the services of geologists and mine specialists are enlisted to understand the characteristics of the land being prospected for mineral deposits. Mapping, sampling, and detailing the type of ore and grade held below the surface, all form part of this process. The exploration stage concluded for the Rovina Valley Project was no different.

Our exploration team had to deal with extreme weather conditions at times

SAMAX, the local Romanian company representing Euro Sun Mining, began to identify potential in the area in 2004. With the granting of their Rovina Exploration License in 2005, an exhaustive programme of exploration with core sampling took place. The exploration programme was completed in 2012. In that time, an astonishing 281 drill holes were drilled, generating a total of 138,591.33 meters of core samples taken.

A look back at the incredible team that produced one of the most extensive exploration studies ever conducted in the Rovina Valley

Dr Sorin Halga, General Director, representing Euro Sun Mining, remembers fondly SAMAX’s period of exploration and the challenges endured to deliver an outline of the potential deposit size. ‘For our project, we employed all the classic exploration methods such as Geochem soil sampling, geological mapping, rock chip sampling, ground geophysics and core drilling’ he explains. He continues saying that the biggest challenge was at the Ciresata site where mineralisation does not outcrop, but here develops between 60 to 120 meters below surface. ‘It took enormous skill and imagination to properly understand and identify this ore body’, he articulates proudly. Here, the surface geochemical signature was weak compared to that of Rovina and Colnic, so this pushed all theoretical and physical drilling boundaries. Dr Halga added that the harsh winter weather conditions sometimes faced by the team also helped forge exploration experiences that we all still remember to this day.

All the data captured during our exploration phase has been digitized and is stored for reference. This is vital resource is then available for any new computerised geological interpretations required. Using dedicated software, it is now possible for the Euro Sun Mining’s engineers to call upon this information when needed to model new mining techniques and development phases.

Samples being labelled for analysis

Another vital resource are the actual physical core samples themselves. Every core meter sample taken was initially cut along its axis. One half of this went to a certified laboratory for analysis, all the other halves have been meticulously stored within our impressive sampling sheds in Criscior. These secure structures keep an inventory of every rock sample taken, all neatly categorised. This physical reference is for any future geologist needing to check and correlate the geological formations between drill holes, or to re-interpret the geological models. Our core sample facility also conforms to Romanian legislation which dictates that we keep all our samples ready for inspection for a minimum of 5 years after mine closure, the last phase in any mining lifecycle.

The Impressive Euro Sun Mining Exploration facility in the town of Criscior

For Euro Sun Mining, the benefit of having such an extensive drill sample programme completed is far-reaching. The overarching benefit is that production predictions and return-on-investment calculations are more accurate. With such extensive information to draw upon, the overall mine plan also has less variants and is more predictable. Of interest is that all our sample results have been independently verified. This verification is also in keeping with the ‘National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects’, a security instrument that governs how Euro Sun Mining discloses mining information on the Canadian Stock Exchange.

Euro Sun Mining has an extensive facility housing thousands of catalogued samples

For the Rovina Valley Project, all potential areas of interest have been investigated. We must however continue to celebrate what was achieved during the exploration phase as it remains one of the best-in-class ever conducted in Romania. Our next phase is the mine construction once all the necessary permitting is concluded.

South African leading critical mining project in Romania where red tape is being cut


Euro Sun’s Grant Sboros interviewed by Mining Weekly’s Martin Creamer

27th February 2024
By: Martin Creamer
Creamer Media Editor

JOHANNESBURG ( – Toronto-listed Euro Sun Mining, headed by South African CEO Grant Sboros, is advancing a development-stage gold and copper project in Romania, a country which is reportedly shedding its rigidly bureaucratic past with considerable aplomb.

Unlocking the full potential of the Rovina Valley project, located in west-central Romania, is what Euro Sun is setting out to do with vigour, Sboros made clear in a Zoom interview with Mining Weekly. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)

In agreement with government, mining production will be more copper-centred amid the Critical Raw Materials Act passed by the European Union in December last year.

“This is our ticket to ride,” was Sboros’ comment on the new critical minerals legal framework, which specifies that the European Union should have the capacity to extract 10%, process 40%, and recycle 25% of its annual consumption of strategic raw materials by 2030.

Meanwhile, Euro Sun is going all out to make its 100%-owned Rovina Valley project as green as can be.

The planned mining process excludes cyanide and wet tailings and the people of the region are reportedly very keen that Romania’s 2000-year-old mining legacy be amplified.

Cyanide-free processing reduces the need for chemicals within the process, mitigating impurity penalties and protecting the environment, Euro Sun stated in a recent presentation document, which also drew attention to the company producing a clean, high-grade copper concentrate with a strong gold credit.

With Euro Sun also pledging to contribute to the European Union’s control of its supply chain, there is reportedly observable local eagerness for the project to go ahead. “I was there last week, and every single person who you engage, from waiter to mayor, wants the project to happen as quickly as possible,” communications consultant Richard Dolamore stated in a preliminary note to Mining Weekly.

Notwithstanding this enthusiasm, Euro Sun has full compliance at the very top of its agenda and respects everything around what it describes as a beautiful, relatively uninhabited, lightly wooded area with steep hills.

The project will be the biggest in the last 35 years and government will earn 45% of the bottom line.

Since beginning his role as CEO in January last year, Sboros has been engaging intensively with the Romanian government on permitting.

The environmental impact assessment stage is now a hair’s breadth away and the mine will take two years to build, with first production expected to take place in mid-July 2026.

The plan is to exploit the porphyry-style asset as an opencast operation over a 30- to 35-year stretch before probably heading underground.

“We’re moving into a place that was historically mined just 5 km away from our current position, in the mountains of Rovina, very steep mining and not the biggest grades on the planet, but overall enough to produce ten-million ounces, with a view of a greater resource that we’ll prove up on the rest of our licences adjacent to our properties. We‘re probably looking to double up on that,” Sboros said.

Meanwhile, some 40 km away, Gabriel Resources, another Canada-listed company, is intent on getting the Roșia Montană gold and silver project up and running, following a court case that spanned a dozen years and which is poised to net Gabriel considerable compensation.

“We’ve definitely seen a change from what was a bad perception of Romania. I’ve spent a lot of time on the ground with all the stakeholders and we’ve seen a shift from the way the previous government was trying to manage things, compared with the new government now in place, which wants to exploit the resources of the country,” Sboros highlighted.

Europe consumed 16% of the global copper market in 2018, but only accounts for about 5% of global production. With copper demand expected to reach 3.5-million tonnes by 2030, Euro Sun undertook in its presentation document to provide a sustainable supply to support the growing decarbonisation need.

Rovina Village’s ‘Wooden Church of the Exaltation of the Cross’, built in 1780

Supporting Local Heritage

When travelling through Transylvania to the Euro Sun Mining project, the traveller bears witness to the special cultural sights and sounds that make the Hunedoara County (and Romania) so unique. Whether it is the unusual Romanian haystacks, the livestock in backyards, or various medieval fortifications, a richness of tradition prevails, expressed by people who have laboured and toiled with their land over centuries.

One astonishing feature scattered around northern Transylvania is the almost 100 Orthodox churches made only from timber. These religious landmarks are characterised by their slim bell towers at the western sections of their structures. Centuries old, some of these churches date back to the 1700s and were built in response to the prohibition against the erection of stone Orthodox churches by the Catholic Austro-Hungarian authorities of the time. Inside these churches are painted and carved biblical scenes created by artists once dedicated to this sacred art, allowing us the modern visitor a view into ancient history and culture.

In the tiny village of Rovina is one such wooden church. Built in 1780, Rovina’s ‘Wooden Church of the Exaltation of the Cross’ is central to the village and the custodian of the regions heritage. The church is now however in need of urgent restoration to preserve the time-honoured traditions of the Bucureșci Community. Since mining ceased in the post-communist era, very little money has been made available regionally for the preservation of cultural sites. With time passing, the restoration process also becomes more challenging. The wooden tiles for example on the church roof that need replacing are all individually hand-made. This process of restoration is expensive and all work has to be done in accordance specific material guidelines and with the approval of the Romanian Ministry of Culture.

For many years now, Euro Sun Mining has been assisting Father Virgil Oprișa, the village priest, with the general maintenance of the church and surrounding areas. This has included the purchase and installation of a sound system in the main church of Bucureșci Village, maintaining the cemetery gardens, clearing all access roads and paths around the village, and undertaking much of the administrative work in getting approvals for future restoration. Whilst greatly appreciated, there is now a call to conduct major refurbishment on the church itself to preserve this centuries old landmark before further degradation takes place.

As part of our community outreach programme, restoration of the Rovina church remains a high priority for Euro Sun Mining which will be fully realised when mining operations begin. Until that time, we continue to work closely with the church and surrounding community to service basic needs. We also encourage all visitors to our Euro Sun Mining Criscior offices to include a visit to this special church and important heritage site.

Euro Sun Mining is represented by SAMAX Romanian Limited in Crișcior.

Top view of the church, looking over the Rovina Village

To be restored, each wooden tile on the roof is individually handmade

The ornate interior of this unique piece church

2023 Event Summary

2023 was an eventful year for Euro Sun Mining (ESM) as we progressed with the permitting requirements and consolidated our financial and strategic position to support the advance of our Rovina Valley Project (RVP). The following timeline prevailed:

3rd March

ESM announces its intention to complete a non-brokered private placement financing up to 20,000,000 units of the company at a price of C$0.05 per Unit for gross proceeds to the Company of up to approximately C$1 million.

23rd June

Mr. Scott Moore resigns as member of the board of directors

6th July

New court date set aside on the RVP matter regarding the annulment of the environmental authorization. Previous 2 court dates delayed, and a newly revised court date set for 29th September 2023.

21st July

ESM is granted the renewal of its Certificate of Urbanisationfor another two years beginning July 2023. The granting of this renewal certificate is a significant milestone in the documentary process that results in a Land Rezoning Plan, after which the Environmental Impact Assessment can be submitted.

28th August

ESM enters NSR Royalty Agreement for gross proceeds of $4million

2nd October

The matter regarding the annulment of the environmental authorization matter finally heard in Cluj-Napoca court. Verdict anticipated within weeks

3rd & 5th October

ESM Settles Convertible Security Funding Agreement with Lind Global Fund II, LP in full. This achievement honoured the commitment made by the Company to Lind and, sets another milestone on the evolution of the Rovina Valley Project (to deliver critical European minerals and Romanian economic development.—-Euro-Sun-Mining-Settles-Convertible-Security-Funding-Agreement-in-Full/default.aspx

30th October

In the matter regarding the annulment of the environmental authorization matter, the court ruled that the Environmental Resources Management’s certificate (ERM certificate) issued by The Ministry of Environment was not valid at the time when ESM’s environmental report was submitted for obtaining the Environmental Endorsement.

14th November

European Commission reaches political agreement on the critical raw materials act. The Act seeks to increase domestic EU capacities for critical raw materials along the supply chain by identifying strategic projects that would benefit more streamlined, faster and more efficient permitting procedures as well as facilitated access to finance. This developed deemed as positive in the advance of the RVP.

6th December

ESM issues debenture for proceeds of US$660000
The Principal Amount will be advanced in two tranches, with the first US$115,000 advanced upon execution of the Debenture and a second US$545,000 advanced by December 15, 2023.

15th December

Mr. Grant Sboros, CEO ESM, concludes a series of Romanian Government stakeholder meetings discussing the RVP. The engagements conclude with a positive meeting with the minister of the Romanian Ministry of Economy.

Mineral Security Critical to Europe’s Energy Transition

Europe has firmly set itself on a net zero emissions path and continues to embrace all available technologies and emission reducing options dictated by technology maturity, costs and market conditions. Bold policy ambition by governments is also positioning the future business landscape to function within strict emission parameters. The UK government for example, is powering towards decarbonising its entire car fleet by banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. France, despite ongoing push-back from the so called ‘yellow vest’ revolt, continues with plans to target greenhouse gas emissions from individual sectors. The present summer weather extremes in Europe give credence to what European policy makers wish to achieve, but what happens if the supply to the very minerals that underpin the technology required to drive this future economy is threatened?

The consequences of a vulnerable mineral supply chain would be catastrophic for Europe. Reconfiguring how European society operates, and then not being able to supply the essential resources to drive economic momentum forward, would not only risk climate change targets, but also potentially affect political stability. If Europe cannot secure long-term mineral supply chains, then it may indeed find itself up the proverbial ‘creek without a paddle’.

According to a recent report released by the International Energy Agency on critical minerals1, there are three supply challenges to be addressed to ensure the rapid and secure transfer of the energy transition. These are:

  1. Keeping pace with the rapid demand growth in climate driven scenarios.
  2. The need to diversify sources and,
  3. Whether the volumes supplied are from clean and responsible sources.

Trade relations remain complex. In the future, the possibility of global conflict will potentially be driven not from differences in ideology, but from disparities in resources. The insatiable resource appetite of China and India, pitted against the West’s focus to transition to a green utopic economy, is going to dominate resource management and business trade in the decades to follow. International trade alliances continue to be drawn up, and the investment competition to secure mineral supply chains in regions such as Africa or South America continues to play out; offset by the risk appetite to venture into areas of political instability, corruption or conflict.

Against this backdrop, for Europe to realise its net zero ambitions and support the future energy economy being developed, the need to look inwards at every resource opportunity to meet demand and ensure security has to begin. By augmenting mineral supply chains from within Europe, a diversification of supply is also achieved, with automatic European standards of governance and oversight, and with a reduction in emission costs to get minerals imported into Europe.

According to the European Commission2, the European Union metallic minerals sector produces a wide range of ores yielding metals or metallic substances with active mines in Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland and Poland. With contributions currently at only 1% of total global production, new investment opportunities in Europe that can deliver a secure supply of minerals will become hot property.



Writer: Richard Dolamore

Writer Note: The views and opinions expressed in the above blog are those held solely by the writer and in no way reflect the views held by any other third party or company.

March 2023

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