Romanian government classifies Rosia Montana mining area as historical site

By bne IntelliNews January 18, 2016

Rosia Montana village, where Canada-based Gabriel Resources plans to develop a large-sized gold mine, has been listed by the government as a Class A historical site, culture minister Vlad Alexandrescu announced in a Facebook post. The protected area has a radius of around 2km. The document has not yet been published in the Official Journal, he added.

Alexandrescu did not comment on the impact of the decision on the gold mining project. By law, industrial activities within such areas is forbidden. Thus, the mining project would have to be stopped.

Earlier this year, Mediafax reported that Alexandrescu had notified the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) about irregularities related to the situation of historical monuments, including Rosia Montana.

Rosia Montana gold mining project is being developed by Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), which is 80% controlled by Canada-based Gabriel Resources (with 20% belonging to the Romanian state).  

Gabriel Resources has been trying for the past 15 years to go ahead with plans to develop Rosia Montana, which it says could become the largest gold mine in Europe. However, the project has been the victim of conflicts between rival political factions as well as fierce opposition from environmentalists.

The company’s latest statement, in early 2015, says it remains committed to developing Rosia Montana. It was visibly aimed at re-opening discussions with the Romanian authorities, which have not yet clarified their position regarding the project.

Under an October 2013 agreement with the Romanian government, Gabriel Resources agreed to pay higher royalties (6% versus 4% previously) and increase state participation in the project to 25%, in return for the government’s promise to issue operating permits under a specified schedule. However, parliament rejected the bill in June 2014.

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