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Canadian company takes another step towards investor-state challenge against Romania

Rosia Valley

Gabriel Resources continues to push for their unpopular and highly-destructive Rosia Montana mine in Romania.

The Whitehorse-based company announced today they are taking “further steps to initiate positive dialogue with decision makers from within the Romanian Government and competent regulatory authorities directly responsible for progress of permitting and authorizing the development of the Rosia Montana gold and silver mine.” In other words, “The Company has issued a formal notification to the President and Prime Minister of Romania … which requests the Romanian Authorities to engage formally in a process of consultation.”

The company wants to construct a massive open-pit mine in the Carpathian mountains that would use cyanide to mine about 314 tons of ton of gold and 1,500 tons of silver. It would destroy mountainsides, displace about 2,000 villagers and create a 300-hectare toxic tailings pond.

In September 2013, the company threatened it could seek up to $4 billion “for multiple breaches of investment treaties” if the mine were blocked. In May 2014, the company said it was preparing an international arbitration case against the Romanian government because it had rejected the mine. In its media statement today, the company says, “Gabriel has not initiated any arbitration claim or application to any international arbitration court.” But they highlight, “Gabriel has issued the Notice as it asserts that it has not been afforded the treatment by the Romanian Authorities that is stipulated by investment protection treaties signed by Romania.”

And the company warns, “The Gabriel Group is prepared to present its claims to international arbitration in order to compensate fully for its rights to develop the Project that have been denied by Romania’s treaty violations.”

The Council of Canadians is opposed to the Rosia Montana mine and the use of the investor-state dispute settlement provision in ‘free trade’ agreements that is most often used to challenge measures against environmentally-destructive projects.

For Council of Canadians blogs about this proposed mine, please click here. In December 2013, we were noted in numerous media reports around the world after we signed an open letter with Romanian and Canadian allies denouncing the mine.