BUCHAREST (Romania), July 28 (SeeNews) - Canada's Gabriel Resources, which holds a licence for the Rosia Montana gold and silver mine in western Romania, said that an amicable resolution of an arbitration claim against the country is unlikely, after the site received a UNESCO World Heritage status.
Gabriel Resources has strongly urged the Romanian government not to follow through with the UNESCO application in order to preserve the possibility of an eventual amicable resolution of the ICSID arbitration dispute, it said in a press release on Tuesday.
UNESCO announced on Tuesday that it has added the ancient Roman gold mining area of Rosia Montana to its list of world heritage sites.
"The UNESCO Application and Inscription are fundamentally at odds with Romania's obligations under its investment treaties in relation to Gabriel's investments and these acts, together with other measures taken by Romania, further evidence Romania's political decision not to permit the Project under any circumstance," Gabriel Resources said.
The Toronto-listed resource company said it believes that permitting the project, a carefully planned, sustainable and modern mining development, would have been the best way to safeguard the significant cultural heritage of the Rosia Montana area and to clean-up the vast environmental pollution - a consequence of unregulated historical state mining.
In 2017, Gabriel Resources filed a $4.4 billion (3.7 billion euro) arbitration claim against Romania for alleged investment treaty violations in relation to the Rosia Montana project. The company's main focus has been the exploration and development of Rosia Montana, one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits in Europe.
Gabriel Resources claims that Romania has violated several provisions of the treaty: the expropriation of the company's investments in Romania without compensation, the failure of the state to accord to its investments fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security and the impairment of the company's investments by discriminatory and unreasonable measures.
In August 2013, the Romanian government approved a draft law supporting the Rosia Montana gold and silver project majority owned by Gabriel Resources. That move sparked massive protests in Bucharest and other major cities as the exploitation envisages the use of cyanides to extract gold, a process that is considered potentially harmful for the environment. The Romanian parliament subsequently rejected the draft law in 2014. In 2015, the company announced it will seek international arbitration at ICSID in hope to settle a satisfactory agreement with Romania.
Gabriel owns 80.46% of the Rosia Montana gold project in Romania through its local subsidiary, Rosia Montana Gold Corporation SA, while the Romanian government holds a 19.31% stake.
($ =0.849 euro)