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Romanian commission says no to Canadian gold mine

Reuters reports, “A special Romanian parliamentary commission overwhelmingly rejected a draft bill that would allow Canada’s Gabriel Resources Ltd. to set up Europe’s biggest open-cast gold mine in the Carpathian mountains. Gabriel has been waiting 14 years for approval to use cyanide to mine about 314 tons of gold and 1,500 tons of silver in the town of Rosia Montana in Transylvania.”

The Associated Press adds “The government of Prime Minister Victor Ponta originally sent a bill to Parliament to approve the project, but changed its mind after weeks of protests in Romanian cities over environment concerns and criticism that Romania would earn too little from the deal. ‘The ruling coalition intends to reject the project’, Ponta said Monday… President Traian Basescu, formerly a staunch supporter of the project, has distanced himself and now says he is neutral.”


The news report notes, “Jonathan Henry, chief executive officer of Gabriel Resources, declined to make immediate comment.” But as reported by Mining.com, Henry said in an interview in September that, “We have a very, very robust (investor-state) case, and we believe we have claims up to $4 billion that we can send to the Romanian state. We will go ahead and do that if the vote is against.”


Now that the bill that proposed to speed up the approval of the Rosia Montana mine by setting strict deadlines for the approval process has been rejected, analysts expect the Romanian parliament to endorse the commission’s report which calls for new mining legislation.


We stand in solidarity with our Romanian allies who are opposed to this mine and we will continue to monitor this situation. We are particularly taking note of Gabriel’s threat that they might use a trade treaty (the Canada-Romania Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, or perhaps the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in the future) against the expressed democratic wishes of the Romanian people and against the land and water of Romania.


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