For immediate release
Rosia Montana/ Romania; 8. July 2005 – Alburnus Maior is pleased to provide an update regarding the Rosia Montana project (RMGC); 80% owned by Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU). The American miner Newmont (NTSE: NEM) in return holds a 10.8% stake in Gabriel Resources.
· Suspension of the Urbanism Certificate for RMGC’s Industrial Development Area
· Annulment of the Archaeological Discharge Certificate 4/2004
· No Archaeological Discharges for 2005
· No Exploration Activities
· Criminal Investigation into RMGC’s establishment
· The Rosia Montana Project, an obstacle to Romania’s EU Accession
· Finalization of the Environmental Impact Assessment
Suspension of the Urbanism Certificate for RMGC’s Industrial Development Area
On 15 June 2005 the Alba County Tribunal (the “tribunal”) suspended the urbanism certificate granted to Rosia Montana Gold Corporation; a required step in the permitting of the mining project. The suspension has immediate effect and will suspend all authorization procedures based on this act, including the EIA procedure. Alburnus Maior has duly sent notifications to all relevant authorities and is optimistic that the suspension will be enforced and this because it is opposable “erga omnes”. Amongst others, any advancement regarding the so-called “Modification of the Zonal Urbanism Plan for the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation Industrial Development area” now is null and void.
Annulment of Archaeological Discharge Certificate 4/2004
On 20 June 2005 the Alba Court of Appeal (the “court”) announced the annulment of archaeological discharge certificate No.4/2004. According to Romanian legislation an archaeological discharge certificate of the type as was 4/2004 is not something ‘granted’ to a beneficiary or something that results from an application but strictly refers to the protection status of a particular location. It has general applicability. This means that Gabriel Resources can not ‘reapply’ for a discharge certificate that has been annulled.
During an official meeting with ‘Alburnus Maior’, Romania’s National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANMR) confirmed that it will enforce the courts verdict. Art. 11 of Romania’s mining law stipulates that “Carrying out mining activities on the land on which are located historical, cultural and religious monuments, archaeological sites of important interest and natural reservation, […] mining activities of such lands is strictly forbidden.”
No Archeological Discharges for 2005
The Alburnus Maior National Archaeological Research Program (the “program”), financed by Gabriel Resources to explore the Rosia Montana area has been brought to a sudden and pre-mature halt. According to sources from within Romania’s Ministry for Culture and the Cults (MCC), Gabriel failed to honor it financial obligations towards this year’s research program. MCC has consequently retrieved its’ archaeological teams working at Rosia Montana. In absence of archeological research by the program, no area can be discharged which in return means that no mining activities may take place.
No Exploration Activities
According to an official reply (H-0389/2005) by the European Commission following an information request to provide an update on the Rosia Montana development: “the Commission has been informed [by the Ro. authorities] that all supplementary exploration activities have been suspended.” Albeit an assortment of permitting requests submitted by RMGC, there have been no exploration activities at Rosia Montana since 2003.
The Romanian authorities are criminally investigating RMGC’s establishment
Under file No. 896/P/2004, The Prosecutor’s Office next to the High Court of Cassation and Justice is currently investigating Nicolae Stanca, former Director of Minvest Deva and Frank Vasile Timis, founder of Gabriel Resources for abuse in function against public interest. The criminal case refers to the stake of Minvest Deva, the state-owned mining company, in what eventually became Rosia Montana Gold Corporation.
The Rosia Montana Project, an obstacle to Romania’s EU Accession
In early July 2005, BBC-Romania published an interview with Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner for Enlargement regarding a possible delay of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s EU accession due their failure to implement vital reforms; such as combating corruption and reforming justice. During the interview, the Rosia Montana mine venture was pointed out as the one particular problem facing Romania.
Finalization of the Environmental Impact Assessment
Amongst a main contestation on the terms of references (“TOR”) for the Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”), Alburnus Maior submitted a communication to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (the “committee”) pursuant to paragraph 18 of the annex to Decision I/7 of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention. According to the documents submitted for examination, the Romanian authorities failed to comply with provisions of article 6 of the Convention in decision-making on the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Rosia Montana open-cast gold mine proposal; in particular at the scoping stage of the procedure. The Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to Justice in environmental matters was ratified by Romania with Law 86/2000. Alburnus Maior expects to receive the results of the Committee’s investigation by fall 2005.
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For more information please contact Alburnus Maior on +40 258 859 328 and visit www.rosiamontana.org