Gabriel Resources seeks Romanian clarification on key gold mine – by Bertrand Marotte (Globe and Mail – September 9, 2013)

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Gabriel Resources Ltd. is frantically trying to confirm statements by Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta and other ministers regarding rejection of a draft bill allowing the company to build Europe’s largest gold mine.

The Canadian mining company said Monday that it is “urgently seeking confirmation of the actual statements made and clarification of the impact on the proposed permitting of the Project.”

Media reports on Monday quoted Mr. Ponta as saying that the Rosia Montana gold-and-silver project in a small Romanian town is “case closed” after a week of protests by environmentalists and citizens throughout the country concerned over the use of cyanide in the extraction process.

The project, which Gabriel has been pursuing since the late 1990s, would also involve the razing of four mountains to allow for a giant open pit mine. Backers of the project say the mine would help boost the economically deprived region of northwest Romania and create much-needed jobs.

Gabriel says the mine would be built according to the highest environmental standards and would preserve the local and national cultural heritage in Romania.

Just last week, Rosia Montana Gold Corp. – a Romanian company in which Gabriel owns an 81 per cent equity interest, with the rest owned by the state – said it was confident Romania’s parliament would vote for the project.

“Notwithstanding that the Government approved the draft legislation in its meeting on Aug. 27, and recent polls illustrate a majority of support for progression of the Project across Romania it appears that the Government has instituted emergency procedures to halt any debate in Parliament,” Gabriel said in a news release.

Gabriel will assess all its options if the draft bill is rejected, including the possibility of launching a lawsuit against the government for “multiple breaches of international investment treaties,” it said.

The company also said on Monday that it “would advise caution in the trading of its shares.”

Gabriel says the project would bring more than $24-billion (U.S.) to Romania as “potential direct and indirect contribution to GDP,” with gold at $1,200 per ounce.

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