In July 2016, ISF SystExt went to Romania to discover this country's mining realities. Our journey involved visits to mining sites (operating, closed or restored), enhanced with meetings with mining companies, academics and associations. The hard coal basin of the Jiu Valley, the copper deposits in Rosia Poeini-Geamana, the Golden Quadrilateral home to the suspended project of Rosia Montana. ISF SystExt portrays these industrial areas through three field reports, supported by bibliographic searches. First part of the story: The Jiu Valley, Romania's first hard coal basin.