Bucharest/Romania 10. December 2013 – After lengthy debates inside parliament and widespread demonstrations throughout the country, Romania’s deputies today rejected a series of amendments designed to kick-start the hugely unpopular Rosia Montana mine development. This decision presents an unprecedented victory to Romania’s civil society and a heavy if not mortal blow to Gabriel Resources, the mine project owner. Ahead of today’s vote shares of Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU) had risen by 20% over the weekend.
After sixteen years of intense lobbying and faced with unprecedented local, national and international opposition Gabriel Resources, the Rosia Montana project owner today lost a crucial vote of confidence in Romania’s parliament. After lengthy debates inside parliament and widespread demonstrations throughout the country, Romania’s deputies today rejected a series of amendments designed to kick-start the hugely unpopular Rosia Montana mine development. The new mining law with its amendments was rejected due to insufficient overall attendance from the part of the deputies with 160 votes for, 22 abstentions and 105 votes against.
In late summer this year Romania’s government introduced a law to declare the Rosia Montana mine development of overriding national interest to override legal impasses to e.g. fast-track expropriation and the destruction of cultural monuments. This unconstitutional bill unleashed unprecedented reaction amongst Romania’s civil society at home and abroad and earlier this month the government conceded defeat but instead proposed in an opaque manner a fast-track amendment process of Romania’s mining law. Today these amendments were rejected by Romania’s decisive chamber of deputies due to insufficient overall attendance. Last week the amendments were already rejected by Romania’s senate. However, Romania’s chamber of deputies is still scheduled formally vote on the bill introduced in late summer.
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“Since over sixteen years we have been telling Gabriel Resources’ shareholders that their mine is illegal and unwanted. Today’s decision confirms this once more and it confirms also the united determination of the Romanian people. Together we will continue to ensure that law and order becomes the norm so that we can build a future for Romania. We might seem poor and irrelevant to the eyes of Gabriel Resources, but there are people and things that are not for sale. Rosia Montana is, was and will never be for sale,” concludes Eugen David, president of Alburnus Maior.
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Alburnus Maior Association is an NGO based in Rosia Montana, Alba county, Romania, which represents the interests of those inhabitants in Rosia Montana and Bucium villages that oppose the Rosia Montana mining project on social, environmental, economic and cultural heritage grounds and refuse to sell their properties to allow the mining development. The Association initiated and coordinates the Save Rosia Montana Campaign against this mining project; within its 13 years of life so far this campaign became the largest social and environmental movement in Romania.
Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) is 80% owned by Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU), a small, under-resourced and inexperienced Canadian mining company which plans to uproot the people of Rosia Montana to realize Europe’s largest open-cast gold mine. 20% are owned by Minvest, a state-owned mining company. From its’ onset the venture has been beleaguered by scandals, operational problems and vehement local, national and international opposition.