The much debated and so far controversial investment in the Rosia Montana gold mining project has been included in the Romanian Government’s investment plan and negotiations for the gold mining project investment should be finalized by September. “We would like to advance with unblocking this project, but the decision belongs to the Parliament,” said Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta. Work on the gold mining project will only start if the Romanian Parliament will approve the draft law which will be submitted by the Government.
The Rosia Montana gold mining project, which has been widely opposed in Romania, has been blocked for several years because of the environment protection disputes. However, in the recent investments plan launched by the Romanian Government on Thursday, July 11, the gold mining project was introduced and presented as ‘exploitation with new environment standards’. According to the plan, the state should get 78 percent of what the project would generate.
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta recently said that, as an MP, he would vote against the bill to be initiated related to Rosia Montana gold mining project in Romania. However, as PM, he can’t give a negative vote to the project, as he needs to attract new investments to Romania.
Victor Ponta also added that there are several steps to be followed when talking about exploitation. In the case of Rosia Montana mining project, Victor Ponta said he managed to take a decision “which involves the following steps: first, the environmental studies are completed, and the need for investments, in order to have all the environmental warranties, no matter what happens there. Secondly, the negotiations with the investors are completed,” according to local news agency Agerpres.
The Rosia Montana site in Alba county is evaluated at some 300 tonnes of gold and 1,600 tonnes of silver, and has been under concession to Roşia Montană Gold Corporation for exploitation.
Opposed by NGOs, the project has been lobbied for by politicians, including by Romania’s president Traian Basescu, who argued the gold mine would bring revenues to the state budget and much needed jobs.
Earlier this year, the Government decided to set up a new company which will handle exclusively the Rosia Montana project and which will be subordinated to the delegate minister for infrastructure projects and foreign investments.
The Roşia Montană Gold Corporation company is controlled by the Canadian firm Gabriel Resources, which 80.4 percent of its shares. According to the media, behind Gabriel Resources are billionaires such as John Paulson, Beny Steinmetz and Thomas Kaplan. The state controls 19.3 percent of the shares via Compania Naţionala a Cuprului, Aurului şi Fierului Minvest Deva.