Romanian PM says Rosia Montana gold mine is ‘case closed’, expects Parliament majority to reject it after a week of protests

The Rosia Montana gold mining project has been declared ‘case closed’ by Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who said the week long street protests in Bucharest and across Romania had achieved their aim.

The PM said there was no discussion within the Social Liberal Union USL about rejecting the project but political leaders did speak before the decision was made.

The PM’s announcement came an hour after USL co-leader and speaker of the Romanian Senate Crin Antonescu said he opposed the draft law which permitted Rosia Montana Gold Corporation to extract gold from the central Romanian town.

As the Government had approved the draft bill, it was the Parliament’s turn to approve or reject the project.

But, preempting the vote, the PM said the best solution was for Parliament to reject the proposal. Considering that there is a parliament majority against the project, it will most likely not pass.

The PM however warned that Romania could face a lawsuit from the investor, Canadian firm Gabriel Resources, the majority shareholder in the gold mining firm Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, which has been pursuing this project since 1998.

But the Government should be exempt from any fault, according to the PM, who earlier explained the Government approved the gold mining project and left it for the Parliament to decide mainly to protect itself from a potential law suit, after years of delaying a decision.

The statements came after a week of street protests in Bucharest and in other large Romanian cities, where thousands of people took to the streets against the use of cyanide and its impact on the environment, should the Rosia Montana project be approved.

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