Rosia Montana, România; 19. February 2004 – ‘Alburnus Maior’ has learned that Gabriel Resources (‘Gabriel’) again postponed the submission of the environmental study required for governmental approval in order to start developing the Rosia Montana gold mining project(1).
Gabriel Resources (TSX: GBU), a junior Canadian mining company, intends to realize Europe’s largest open-cast mining development in Rosia Montana; entailing, amongst other, the involuntary resettlement of over 2000 people. From its onset the development has been beleaguered with scandals and operational problems including local, national and international opposition. Gabriel has been delaying the EIA process since October 2002.
In November 2002 Petru Lificiu, the then Romanian Minister for the Environment, set up a PHARE Commission to advise on the EU procedures and conditions that Gabriel’s project would need to meet. According to the commission’s recommendations, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will have to include a wide range of issues and costs; directly and indirectly associated with Gabriel’s project (i.e. social, patrimonial, archaeological, legal, economic and environmental issues).
To give an example, the PHARE Commission confirmed that the impact of Gabriel’s project will be trans-boundary and that the Danube and Espoo Conventions therefore are applicable. Member states such as Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria thus would have to be consulted. Hungarian, Bulgarian and Serbian communities that could be affected by Gabriel’s project will have an additional say during the EIA procedure. Finally, close to one hundred Romanian and international NGOs have already been officially acknowledged as consulted parties to the EIA procedure(2). The EIA procedure pertaining Gabriel’s project thus will last for a minimum of 12 months. All costs pertaining the EIA have to be carried by the project sponsor.
According to a recent recommendation (amendment 28) proposed by the EU parliament for Romania, commercial projects having to undergo an EIA procedure will from now on have to meet all relevant EU norms in order to ensure the efficiency or ‘effect utile’ of EU legislation.
“The renewed delay of Gabriel’s EIA is a simple but clear reconfirmation that Gabriel has been clinically dead since long. What’s more, the delay will significantly add to this amateurish project’s costs. It is now more than ever time for all involved decision makers to acknowledge the human costs already caused by Gabriel’s involuntary resettlement program. Based on the EU’s legal principle of ‘effect utile’, this program is illegal and thus can be challenged. This is what we, property owners of Rosia Montana, will do. Contrary to Gabriel Resources, we have all the time in the world,” said Eugen David, president of ‘Alburnus Maior’.
‘Alburnus Maior’ is an NGO based in Rosia Montana, Romania. It was founded in September 2000 and represents well over 300 local families from Rosia Montana Commune and another 100 families from Bucium Commune. The overwhelming majority of its’ members are subsistence farmers, many having also worked in the mining sector. ‘Alburnus Maior’ is opposed to Gabriel’s project on social, environmental, economic and cultural grounds.
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For more information, contact Eugen David on +40 740 280309 or Stephanie Roth and Stefania Simion +40 740 342104. For the PHARE manual and EU legal report visit www.rosiamontana.org