Minister of Justice approves Rosia Montana project. Poll: four in five Romanians approve of Parliament’s debate of the gold mining project. ‘Gabriel Resources’ warns it will assess all possible actions, including the formal notification of its intentions to commence litigation for multiple breaches of international investment treaties.
Yesterday’s meeting of the Senate Permanent Bureau and Chamber of Deputies Permanent Bureau on constituting a special commission to analyse the bill draft regarding gold mining at Rosia Montana was cancelled due to disputes within the Social Liberal Union (USL) on the topic. The main focus of the disputes was the statements made by Senate Speaker Crin Antonescu yesterday morning during a press conference. He said the Rosia Montana project cannot be supported and he believes it should be rejected because the public’s negative reaction is more important than any practical data.
“I think the Rosia Montana gold mining project cannot be supported and it should either be pulled out (…) I think it should be rejected,” Antonescu said, as cited by Mediafax, adding that his statement expresses his personal view and is not made in his capacity as Senate Speaker or PNL leader. Moreover, the liberal chairman pointed out that a major project such as Rosia Montana should be supported by whomever initiated it, namely by the government. He reiterated that PM Ponta had said he would vote against the project as Deputy. Crin Antonescu told the Digi TV, late on Sunday that the recent rallies happening in Bucharest against the Rosia Montana ‘are a healthy token of civism’. PM Ponta reacted immediately to this statement and, upon his arrival at the Parliament, he explained he had had no previous discussions with Antonescu on the topic, but considering the views expressed by political groups, the only solution is to reject the Rosia Montana project in the Senate and then in the Chamber.
“Since it is clear that the majority is against it, there is no point in prolonging the situation. It is very clear that the decision has been made. So let’s go into the Senate and end the project as soon as possible. The Senate will reject the project through an emergency procedure, then it will send it to the Chamber (of Deputies) which will also reject it and that will be it”, he emphasized. “There is no point in the Bureaus coming together. What point is there to establish a commission if political leaders have already expressed their views before the debate?” Ponta added. Asked if the government is exempt from trials as a result of rejecting the project in the Parliament, the Prime Minister replied: “Trials will be had anyway, but I reiterate, I do not want to have other Ministers being accused of undermining national economy. I want the Parliament to decide. Political leaders have decided and we must vote in order for the procedure to be concluded.”
According to Parliamentary sourced cited by HotNews.ro, Social Democrats were displeased with Crin Antonescu’s statements and, apparently, PSD will no longer establish a special commission and will let the Senate, as the first notified chamber, start the debates over the bill draft sent by the Ponta governance to the Parliament.
Senate deputy Speaker Cristian Dumitrescu stated later in the day that the Senate Standing Bureau has decided, upon a PSD initiative, that the draft law on Rosia Montana will be discussed in an emergency procedure by the parliamentary committees. Until September 11 all committees are to submit their opinion on the draft law and until September 17 a report is to be issued by the administration and economic committees.
Green light given by the Ministry of Justice
After last week’s rumours in the press according to which the Minister of Justice would not approve the Rosia Montana project, the former announced yesterday that the Ministry has given the project the green light. Minister of Justice Robert Cazanciuc stated the project was approved, not rejected, as it was said in the press recently. Minister Cazanciuc also pointed out the document published last week was part of work in progress and contained observations on the Rosia Montana project.
Meanwhile, the public’s views on the matter continue to differ from politicians’ views. According to a poll conducted by Infopolitic Centre of Studies and Research (CSCI) on September 6-7, four in five Romanians approve of Parliament’s debate of the gold mining project at Rosia Montana. The poll sent Agerpres on Sunday asked the surveyed to answer the question: ‘The decision on Rosia Montana project will be made by public debate in Parliament. Do you personally agree or are against such a way of making the decision?’. No less than 79 per cent of the polled said they agree, 9 percent were against and 13 per cent were undecided. The poll also reveals that 67 percent of the Romanians are in favour of the investments that create jobs in mining even if environmental protests arise, while 21 per cent choose the investments aimed to protect the environment, even though they do not bring economic growth; the remainder 12 per cent said they did not know how to answer. The Patronage of Construction Companies is also in favour of the project, stating in a press release that “the approval of the Rosia Montana project will be the long awaited signal that Romania is open to great investors” and it will also re-launch the constructions sector.
On the other hand, about 8,000 people gathered again, at the University Square, in Bucharest, on Sunday evening, protesting against the gold mining project and blocking the traffic. It was the eighth day of protests, in Bucharest as well as in other towns. According to Realitatea TV, around 6,000 persons, including locals from Rosia Montana, marched in Cluj, while in Iasi 700 protesters gathered to protest. Other towns include Brasov, Timisoara and Baia-Mare. Former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase stated people must act wisely and be open to discussions in relation to the Rosia Montana project and pointed out he does not believe it is good for “the anti-system mechanisms to be allowed to envelop the entire country”.
‘Gabriel Resources’ is warning
Gabriel Resources Ltd. notes media statements in Romania reporting comments by the Prime Minister and other ministers of the Romanian Government (“Government”) that the draft legislation relating to the Rosia Montana Project (“Project”) is to be rejected before debate by the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament (“Parliament”), a release by the company informs.
Notwithstanding that the Government approved the draft legislation in its meeting on August 27, and recent polls illustrate a majority of support for progression of the Project across Romania it appears that the Government has instituted emergency procedures to halt any debate in Parliament.
Gabriel is urgently seeking confirmation of the actual statements made and clarification of the impact on the proposed permitting of the Project. If the draft legislation is rejected then the Company will assess all possible actions open to it, including the formal notification of its intentions to commence litigation for multiple breaches of international investment treaties, the release further reads.
As matters progress the Company will update the market accordingly, however until such further announcement the Company would advise caution in the trading of its shares. the release concludes.
Senate rejects Rosia Montana project
The Senate rejected yesterday the Rosia Montana project by 91 votes ‘for’, 9 ‘against’ and one abstention, ‘Adevarul’ reports. The vote came after tough debates and retorts between the power parties and the opposition.