Vast Resources, a British mining company, has invested more than USD 4.5 M in Romania last year.
This is how a communiqué remitted to our editorial office starts. The investment went into the two mines that the company manages in our country – in Baita Plai (photo), Bihor County, and in Manaila, Suceava County. The sum was used for the upkeep of the two mines’ infrastructure, the purchasing of new equipment, maintenance works on the two sites, environment projects and the training of employees.
“Romania’s vast mining culture has convinced us that it is worth investing in this country. We were extremely thrilled to discover that there is already highly skilled labour force here and this labour force is experienced in the mining of polymetal ore. The sum invested so far in the projects in Romania was meant to prepare the mines and the personnel for the resumption of activity. In the long term, Vast Resources will constantly invest both in mining projects and in local communities,” Vast Resources Romania President and CEO Andrew Prelea stated.
Once the company started its activity in Romania, the two mines’ number of employees grew by over 50 per cent. Thus, the company currently has 180 employees, a figure forecast to double by the end of 2016. At the same time, Vast Resources made sure that mining engineers took part in training, safety, health and management courses prior to returning to the mines. Vast Resources exploration and mining company reopened the Manaila mine last August, and will start operations at the Baita mine later this year. The company’s activity in Romania focuses on the mining of polymetal ore and its long-term investments will focus on the upkeep and rehabilitation of mines, the training of employees and on supporting local communities.
Vast Resources was established at the end of 2005 and is engaged in the exploration of mineral ore in Zimbabwe and South Africa. In addition to its activity in Africa, in May 2013 Vast Resources turned its attention to Romania, in view of developing its business strategy.
The company is using the newest exploration technology, such as spatial data management and 3D imaging software, new geophysical modelling techniques, geochemistry and risk management elements, whose purpose is to support the projects that are part of its long-term development process. Thus, Vast Resources has easily handled the transition from being a simple exploration company to being a mining company with a portfolio of high-quality assets.
The company’s plans include a future investment of USD 1.2 M, starting in Q1 of 2016, in building a modular flotation plant at the Manaila mine, and of another USD 2 M in modernizing the polymetal ore mine facilities in Baita Plai. Vast Resources is negotiating the purchase of other polymetal and non-metal ore mines in the region, all as part of its expansion plan in Romania.
Disagreements between local authorities and investors
Several labour conflicts connected to relations between local authorities and foreign investors took place in 2015. The press widely covered them, warning that the stake consist of the mining of an impressive quantity of copper, gold, silver and rare metals. Last year’s dispute apparently had to do with the mining of limestone in the area, done in partnership with private companies, but sources familiar with the situation have said that the stake in fact consists of the takeover of the licence to mine polymetal ores (copper, gold, silver, rare metals). Baita has estimated resources of 1.8 million tons of copper, silver, zinc, lead, tungsten and molybdenum ore, at 6 per cent copper equivalent.