Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Romania permit dispute hearing scheduled for next week

The second hearing in a case brought by Toronto-based Gabriel Resources against Romania's Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is scheduled for April 16, spokesperson Kathy Sipos said on Monday.

“The first hearing did take place in mid-February and the Ministry asked for more time ...so we shall know more soon,” she told Mining Weekly Online.

The company is challenging a decision made last year by the Ministry to suspend the review of the environmental-impact assessment for the firm's flagship Rosia Montana gold project.

The Minister halted the review process in September, based on a court challenge by a nongovernmental organisation to the validity of an urbanism certificate.

Gabriel maintains that the suspension of the review is illegal, as it says that the urbanisation certificate and the EIA review process are unrelated, parallel processes.

Gabriel holds an 80% stake in the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, and Romanian State-owned enterprise Minvest SA owns 19,3%.

The company said in December that it would retrench up to two-thirds of the full-time staff at the project, and halt activities including land acquisition and engineering and procurement, until the permitting process resumed.

The mineral resource at Rosia Montana is estimated at 14,6-million ounces of gold, according to the firm's website.

The project, which proposes to use cyanide mining, has faced growing opposition from nongovernmental organisations, which claim to represent the local communities, although Gabriel disputes this.

The company has defended the use of cyanide mining, which now could become illegal in Romania, saying that it cannot develop the project economically withoutusing the substance.

No comments: