Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hungary Backs Romania over Gold Mine

21 October 2008
Bucharest _ Hungary has backed Bucharest's opposition to a Canadian company’s project to open Europe's biggest open-cast gold mine in the Carpathians by using cyanide to extract gold.

The project by Toronto-based Gabriel Resources in developing its 10.6 million ounce Rosia Montana reserves is under fire from ecologists, rights groups and historians, who fear damage to nearby archaeological sites in central Transylvania.

"We will never agree with plans for starting the works at Rosia Montana and, besides, we are supporting Romania's decision in this regard," Hungary's Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said on Tuesday during a press conference with Romanian counterpart, Calin Popescu Tariceanu in the Hungarian town of Szeged.

The Romanian Government on September 2007 decided to stop plans for gold exploitation as it lacks the necessary environmental documentation.

Gabriel Resources is now challenging the decision in the court.

Gabriel Resources says it will use the latest environmentally-friendly technology, and argues the scheme will benefit Romania by bringing the state $880 million (€610 million) in profits and tax revenues.

It has spent millions of euros so far on relocating people away from the impoverished region where unemployment runs at 60 percent.

The company said the mining project would create 2,000 jobs.

The Canadian mining company had previously criticised non-governmental organisations and even Hungary for trying to block the project.

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