Romania could lose the case for Roșia Montană

What did the President and the PM say?

Romania could lose the trial with Gabriel Resources for Roșia Montană, a final decision to be made on February 10, the risk being to pay billions of dollars. Canada-based Gabriel Resources filed a lawsuit against our country for the gold from Roșia Montană, after the scandal by which the location was included in the UNESCO heritage.

While President Iohannis says to wait for the decision and that he is convinced that the Government has taken precautionary measures, Prime Minister Ciolacu declares that he is used to paying the bills for all the stupid things done by others and that he will make public all the documents that show who was wrong in this case.

Government sources quoted nu Digi24 stated that the subject was discussed on Wednesday in the Government meeting, Marcel Ciolacu and the Minister of Finance expecting that Romania will be obliged to pay at least two billion dollars.

First of all, I think it is good to wait for the decision, but I am convinced that the Government, in its wisdom, has taken precautionary measures. I am not part of these steps, but I expect the Government to do absolutely everything necessary”, President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday when asked about the possibility of Romania losing the case with Roșia Montană.

“At least I’m used to having the bills come to me as prime minister for all the stupid things others do. After the vaccines and the Government meeting that we are holding today to contract a law firm so that we can defend ourselves like other EU states, I understand that by the 10th (February nth) there will be a final decision in the case of Roșia Montana. Yesterday in the Government meeting I asked all colleagues who have information and who approved or did not approve this project, to collect all these documents, all the documents from the lawyers we had in this process so that all Romanians knows the truth. In terms of payments, I firmly believe that we will have a discussion with those who are likely to win this lawsuit. First and foremost, let’s see what amount the court will decide that we are talking about. Anyway, I promise you that I will make all the documents, all the abuses, all the political and administrative decisions taken so that Romania loses this process available to you, and the Romanians will know very clearly who was wrong in this case,” declared the prime minister in his turn.
In the lawsuit with the Romanian state, Gabriel Resources initially requested compensation in the amount of 3.3 billion dollars through the documents submitted to the file.
The company announced in a press release that the arbitral tribunal of the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) declared the proceedings closed on September 14, 2023.
“The company initiated the arbitration before ICSID in July 2015, under the Canada-Romania and the United Kingdom-Romania bilateral investment treaties, as a result of Romania’s illegal refusal to authorize the Roșia Montană mining project in Romania,” the company said.
The final ruling is expected to be given on February 10.
In 2013, tens of thousands of people took to the streets and protested for three weeks against the exploitation of gold in Roșia Montană, which would have destroyed the area.
In several cities in the country, including Bucharest, but also abroad, protest actions were organized against the legislative project adopted by the Ponta Government, which was then sent to the Parliament with a view to the exploitation of gold in Roșia Montana.
In June 2017, the Canadian company, the majority shareholder Roșia Montană Gold Corporation, summoned Romania to court at a World Bank Tribunal, where it claimed losses of billions of dollars because the Government in Bucharest decided not to approve the exploitation of the gold mine Rosia Montana.
The UNESCO Cultural Heritage Committee decided, in July 2021, to register the Roșia Montană site in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and in the World Heritage in Danger, which means stopping any mining project.
The town of Roşia Montană, in Alba county, became known in 1997. In that year, the authorities granted the concession license for the exploitation of gold and silver ores in the area to the state company Minvest Deva, for a period of 20 years.
After four months, the license was transferred to the majority private company Euro Gold Resources, which in 2000 changed its name to Roşia Montană Gold Corporation.
The company was established specifically for the exploitation of the Roşia Montană deposit. The company’s shareholders: the Canadian company Gabriel Resources and Minvest Deva.
The Canadian company was controlled by important names in the world business, such as John Paulson, Thomas Kaplan and Beny Steinmetz.
According to Gabriel Resources, 300 tons of gold and 1,600 tons of silver can be extracted from the Roşia Montană deposit. Their value was, in 2013, estimated at over 16 billion dollars. Controversial, however, is the method of extracting precious metals – with the help of cyanides. Environmental organizations claimed that the procedure is harmful for the environment, but also for the residents of the area. Moreover, they warned on the fact that the expansion of the mine will destroy part of the old Roman galleries, as well as four mountain peaks.
In 2013, Canadians came close to getting the green light to start mining after the Victor Ponta government published a draft law on gold mining that included a 6% royalty, but street protests led the Romanian state to stop any action in this regard.
In 2014, Gabriel Resources threatened to sue Romania and demand billions of dollars in damages. A year later, Gabriel Resources’ threats became reality: the company sued the Romanian state at the arbitration court in Washington.
uary 4, 2017, on the last day of the Dacian Cioloș government, Romania submitted the Roșia Montană file to UNESCO. The file was prepared by the former Minister of Culture, Corina Șuteu. The PSD government led by Mihai Tudose, who succeeded Cioloș, wanted the file withdrawn.
In the summer of 2021, Roșia Montană was included in the UNESCO heritage. More precisely, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee accepted the candidacy of the Roşia Montană site to be added to the list of sites protected by the institution. The decision was taken without objections and without amendments. The mining cultural landscape of Roșia Montană was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO recommends that mining be avoided in the area and that additional measures be taken to preserve the site
2 billion euroscaseGabriel ResourcesgoldlawsuitloseRomaniaRosia Montanaunesco heritage
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