Romanian tax authority serves USD 8.6 mln VAT bill to Canadian mining company
The Romanian tax authority ANAF sent the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMCG), the developer of the halted Rosia Montana gold mining project, a USD 8.6 million (RON 27 million) outstanding VAT bill, the company said. The bill relates to VAT previously claimed and received by RMGC concerning its purchase of goods and services from July 2011 to January 2016.
Rosia Montana Gold Corporation is owned by Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources, which entered a dispute with the Romanian state at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) after the mining project was blocked as the site was declared a historic monument.
RMCG said the VAT assessment was “fundamentally flawed and abusive, and plainly retaliatory coming just days after the company filed its statement of claim in its ICSID arbitration against Romania seeking compensation in an amount equivalent to USD 5.7 billion.”
RMCG said the VAT bill had to be paid by August 5, although it has until August 21 to make an appeal with ANAF over the issue, which it intends to do.
In July 2016 RMCG had another VAT audit which assessed a liability of approximately USD 13.7 million, including interest and penalties, the company said. It then challenged the audit, and the sum was partially extinguished.
In 2016, Romania’s Ministry of Culture decided that the town of Rosia Montana and its surroundings should be classified as category A historic monuments. This meant that any intervention that may affect the area was forbidden, including RMCG’s project. The 2-kilometer perimeter around the town which was declared historic monument also included the mining sites, some of which are almost 2,000 years old.
Also last year, the Culture Ministry included the Rosia Montana cultural landscape on Romania’s tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage.
The Rosia Montana site in Alba county is estimated to contain some 300 tons of gold and 1,600 tons of silver. The gold mining project has triggered many controversies over the years, mainly over the use of cyanide and the landscape destruction wrought by the project.