Gabriel Resources gives up national courts of justice for international arbitration courts, more favourable to corporations

21/10/2015 5410 views

Bucharest, 21 October 2015 – Bucharest Court of Appeal filed yesterday a request from SC Roşia Montană Gold Corporation SA[1], whereby the latter waives the trial of the case[2] brought last year against the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the National Institute for Heritage. By that action RMGC requested the court to cancel the National List of Historical Monuments of 2010[3], namely positions 141, 142 and 146 of the list which classify the mining galleries of Carnic and Orlea Massifs in Roşia Montană as historical monuments of national and universal value (class A). The Bucharest Court of Appeal cannot acknowledge the waiver of trial by the RMGC claimant without the explicit or tacit agreement of the defendants, and these aspects will be settled at the next hearing. The associations Centrul Independent pentru Dezvoltarea Resurselor de Mediu (Independent Centre for the Development of Environmental Resources), Alburnus Maior and Salvaţi Bucureştiul (Save Bucharest) have the capacity of interveners in the case.

The outcome of this action for RMGC would have been the removal of the said positions from the List of Historical Monuments (LMI), particularly the Roman, medieval and modern galleries in Cârnic Massive (with code AB-l-s-A-20329), actually Cârnic Massive as a whole. The massive is part of the first stage of the mining works proposed by RMGC at Roşia Montană and is estimated to store the largest gold quantity in the Roşia Montană deposit. As long as this massive is included in the LMI the company cannot obtain an operating license and any prejudice against the historical monument would be a crime.

The main argument invoked by RMGC to support their action was that the listing of all galleries in the Carnic Massive on LMI in 2010 was illegal because it was not the result of a procedure for historical monument classification as per the law. The defendants’ and interveners’ defence indicated that Roşia Montană town as a whole had been included on LMI as early as 1992 as a single protected area covering 1257 ha. In 2004 this protected area was fragmented and reduced to only 10% of its initial surface, without having been subject to any downgrading procedure and without any support documentation. LMI 2010 did nothing but partly correct this situation.

In an attempt to avoid a court decision on the merits of the case, RMGC filed today a waiver request for the action filed; however the defendants have to express their agreement to this waiver request.

“RMGC is not concerned with any abuse by the Romanian State in relation with their mining project at Roşia Montană. Their difficulty now lies in that, according to current legislation, the final permits cannot be issued, and those already obtained illegally from various authorities were cancelled in court. By this action regarding the List of Historical Monuments RMGC looked for a new way to put pressure on Romanian authorities either to break the law or to change it, so that they can see their dream of the Roşia Montană gold mine come true. Although Gabriel Resources counted on international arbitration, the International Arbitration Court at Washington has nothing to say on the monument status of Roşia Montană or on whether the Ministry of Environment should issue or not the environmental agreement for the mine. These matters are strictly related to the jurisdiction of national courts”, said Ştefania Simion, coordinator of the legal team of Alburnus Maior.

For more information: Ştefania Simion, mobile: 0741137266, e-mail: alburnusmaior@ngo.ro.

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The project “Solidarity for Community” of Alburnus Maior association is funded from the SEE 2009-2014 grants within the ONG fund in Romania. For official information about the SEE and Norwegian grants please see www.eeagrants.org.

[1] Rosia Montana Gold Corporation is a subsidiary of Gabriel Resources (TSX: GBU)

[2] Case number 7352/2/2014

[3] Approved by Order of the Ministry of Culture 2361/2010