The Romanian government is understood to be taking seriously the possibility of losing litigation with Canada’s Gabriel Resources on the Rosia Montana gold mining project, which was blocked by the Romanian authorities, and having to pay at least $2bn — and possibly up to $6.5bn — in compensation.
The possibility was discussed at the government meeting on January 31 ahead of a final ruling expected from the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on February 10.
Since 1997, Gabriel Resources’s main focus has been the exploration and development of the Rosia Montana gold and silver project in Romania to operational status.
However, the project has faced strong opposition from environmentalists within Romania, where it sparked mass protests.
Gabriel Resources announced in June 2017 that it would file a CAD5.7bn (€3.8bn) claim against Romania, accusing the country of violating investment treaties regarding its Rosia Montana project.
Despite opposition from Gabriel Resources, Romania’s government of technocrats headed by Dacian Ciolos asked later in 2017 to place the historic site under UNESCO protection. In June 2021, the site was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list – which put an end to the gold mining project.
UNESCO said at the time that the site had been placed on the list “due to threats posed by plans to resume mining which would damage a major part of the inscribed mining landscape”. Mining in the area dates back to the period of the Roman Empire.
While the Romanian authorities unanimously cheered the UNESCO decision at the time, Gabriel Resources said the decision went against its rights.
The company said that “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.”
Source: bne IntelliNews