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Romanian gov’t suspends Canadian firm gold mining project

The Romanian government has suspended a plan by Gabriel Resources Ltd. to create a gold mine in central Transylvania, Rosia Montana, saying it lacks necessary documentation.

Gabriel Resources’ request for an urbanism certificate - which sets out what approvals will be needed to obtain planning permission - has been legally challenged by environmentalist groups and the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, and there is an ongoing legal dispute. “The moment the company presents a legal urbanism certificate,” it can go ahead, said Environment Minister Attila Korodi.

Gabriel Resources CEO Alan Hill said the company was disappointed by the move and accused environmentalist groups of “abusing the Romanian court system by launching frivolous lawsuits ... further evidence of their lack of respect for the rule of law in Romania.” He added: “For the ministry to suspend the process before the court has even heard the case is outrageous.”

Rosia Montana gold mine has been racked by controversy for years. The Hungarian government has voiced concerns because the mine would be 190 kilometers from its border and it fears the use of cyanide to extract gold ore could threaten the environment. In 2000 a spill at a gold mining company in Romania killed much of the aquatic life in the Tisza River, which also runs through Hungary and is a tributary of the Danube River. (Gazdasági Rádió, canadianpress)