Investors pile back into Gabriel Resources after referendum news

On Friday Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU) climbed over 5% to as high as $2.94 in heavy volumes, bringing its gains over the past month to 30% after the Toronto-listed company said it is likely that a referendum will be held to determine the future of mining in the region in Romania where it is advancing its Rosia Montana project.

The referendum in respect of the resumption of mining in the Apuseni Mountains is scheduled for December 9 and will give Gabriel’s 80%-owned Romanian subsidiary the “opportunity to obtain a fully independent and representational opinion from the communities that lie close to, will benefit most from, and be most affected by, the Project.

“The Apuseni Mountains is an area that is facing extreme poverty whilst continuing to suffer a growing legacy of environmental damage and decay of cultural heritage caused by historic mining practices. Although the outcome of the proposed referendum is not legally binding, it provides an important platform to illustrate the positive impact of the Project on environmental rehabilitation, job creation and heritage salvation for an area that has many years of mining tradition and no viable alternative to the significant economic benefits the Project can deliver,” the company said in a statement.

Investors in Gabriel Resources have experienced a period of torrid trading with the share bouncing between lows of $1.26 and highs of $7.55 as hopes that the contentious Rosia Montana gold-silver project would get the go-ahead are repeatedly raised only to be dashed again.

After more than a decade on the Toronto big board, in September, Gabriel Resources was added to the S&P/TSX SmallCap Index as part of an annual reshuffle of constituents.

Being officially relegated to the minnows category and dropping further from the radar of institutional investors was bad news for the company which today has a market value of just over $1 billion, down from a peak of over $3 billion at the end of 2010 and $2.5 billion at the start of the year.

Gabriel Resources has spent more than $500 million under no fewer than seven different CEOs advancing the 80%-owned Rosia Montana project since the firm first obtained the concession in 1999.