The parliament of Romania has postponed to November a special commission’s report on a bill that would let Canadian Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU) build what it’d be Europe’s largest open-pit gold mine.
According to news agency Agerpress (in Romanian), lower house speaker Valeriu Zgonea said the decision to extend the deadline to Nov. 10 was based on a request of the commission’s members, who were unable to produce a recommendation on the future of Rosia Montana by Oct. 20, the original deadline.
Gabriel Resources, which has been waiting 14 years for the approval, became the centre of attention last year, after an important figure of Romania’s 1989 revolution, left his party over the debated gold mine.
Thousands of Romanians have been rallying on the streets calling on the government to reject the project, as it will use cyanide to mine 314 tonnes of gold and 1,500 tonnes of silver from the rich deposit.
If rejected, the Canadian company said it would sue the country for as much as $4 billion of damages.
The debated mine has cost the junior miner more than $580 million and no fewer than seven different CEOs, since the Canadian firm first obtained the concession in 1999.
Rosia Montana is a community of sixteen villages located in a district known as the Golden Quadrilateral, in the South Apuseni Mountains of Romania, one of Europe’s most prolific mining districts for over 2,000 years.
The concession, which extends over four of those villages, was subject to open pit mining by the state mining company, Minvest, until 2006. Following the closure of the mine with the loss of thousands of jobs, unemployment is reported to be 80% in the region.
Gabriel Resources, the parent company of Rosia Montana Gold Corp. in a partnership with the Romanian government, owns an 81% share in the proposed open-pit mining project, while state-run CNCAF Minvest holds the 19% remaining stake.
Image: Screengrab from Romanian TV News