Canadian mining junior Gabriel Resources wishes to develop Europe’s largest open-cast cyanide-leach gold mine at Rosia Montana. If ever developed, the mine would result in the involuntary resettlement of over 2000 people; their homes, lands, churches, cemeteries etc.
The proposal also foresees the destruction of unique archaeological vestiges dating from Roman and pre-Roman times. At full production, the mine will evacuate 500,000 tons of rock per week and use between 13-15 million kilograms of cyanide per year.
In early September 2007, Romania's Ministry for the Environment and Sustainable Development (MESD) suspended the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure for an undetermined period, following a successful legal challenge filed by Romanian NGO Alburnus Maior. Gabriel Resources filed a lawsuit against the MESD to reverse the ministry's decision, which is still ongoing. All other required permits and approvals for the company's operation are suspended as long as the EIA procedure is put on hold.
Romanian NGOs have initiated a multitude of legal challenges to permits, authorizations and approvals for any aspect of the exploration and development of the project; the company has already lost a number of court cases.
In 2008, Gabriel Resources restarted financing talks ahead of an election in Romania (November 2008) that the company hopes may lead to a new government more apt to let the mine be built (Bloomberg, 9 September 2008).
Stephanie Roth, Alburnus Maior, Romania