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Gabriel Resources defends cyanide use in gold mining - extended

Canadian gold miner Gabriel Resources is defending its plan to use cyanide to extract gold at the Rosia Montana mine in Romania.

The project - which Gabriel Resources is trying to develop into Europe’s biggest gold mine - has been delayed due to protests that the use of cyanide will pollute the environment. Romania’s neighbor Hungary is also trying to stop the development because of fears that cyanide will cause cross-border river pollution.

The Romanian government is considering a bill to ban the use of cyanide in mining, but Gabriel officials say the chemical is necessary. “Let me be clear: Anyone who states they can develop Rosia Montana gold mine economically without using cyanide is lying to you,” Gabriel CEO Alan Hill told a news conference. Hill added that 90% of all gold production is done with cyanide and said his company complies with strict EU cyanide use guidelines.

Hill laid out what he believes to be the facts behind the organizations that oppose the Rosia Montana project. “Local opposition” is not local, he said. The NGO purported to represent the view of the nearby village is supported by foreign money and individuals, specifically Hungarians who may be waiting to snap up Rosia Montana should Gabriel pull out. He says the proposed ban on cyanide use in Romania is being rammed through parliament by foreign interests. He says he has copies of a letter from George Soros to NEWMONT MINING (which holds Gabriel shares) warning the American company against further involvement with Gabriel and Rosia Montana. (Soros is the American financier born in Hungary who made his millions in mining and whose company once moved a village and church to develop a mine, says Hill.) Appended to Hill’s remarks are copies of correspondence, technical evaluations and translations.  

Gabriel’s shares are down 15 cents to C$3.14 on the Toronto Stock Exchange today, a 4.56% drop.