Romanian president Traian Basescu has asked the government to withdraw a bill that would allow Canada’s Gabriel Resources to mine for gold and silver in Rosia Montana, Transylvania.
Basescu called the bill unconstitutional because it “pertains to a private company.” He also expressed his desire to pass responsibility for the project to state agencies.
“The best solution would be for the government to withdraw the draft law from parliament,” Basecu said in a press conference on Monday.
Since thousands of Romanians began protesting the mining project two weeks ago, Gabriel’s fortunes have turned for the worse.
The protest movement gained momentum after reports surfaced that the mine project would require the use of thousands of tonnes of cyanide, four mountain tops to be lopped off, and hundreds of families to relocate.
Last week Gabriel’s stock price plummeted over 50% when Vice President Victor Ponta reversed his position, having pushed forward the draft legislation for Rosia Montana only two weeks earlier.
“There’s no point in wasting time, I want to make sure that the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies vote on the rejection and then this project is closed,” Ponta said, as reported by Bloomberg. “I don’t want the government to be responsible for contracts undertaken by previous cabinets.”
Withdrawal of the bill, however, would not on its own guarantee the termination of the project. And Gabriel Resources is preparing its case against the government for breaching international investment treaties should the project receive a red light.