High Volatility in Gabriel Resources' Management Team
Gabriel Resources ('Gabriel') is a junior Canadian based resource company traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (T.GBU), planning to develop Europe's largest open pit gold/silver mining project in Rosia Montana, Romania's Apuseni Mountains.
To date these restructuring efforts already involve the reorganisation of half of the mining company's senior management team. According to reliable sources the changes are as follows:
- Robin J. Hickson, President and Chief Operating Officer, resigned on 24 March 2003
- Andrew Kaczmarek, Vice President & General Manager, resigned on 28 March 2003
- Bruce Marsh, Vice President, Environment & Regulatory Affairs, resigned on 24 March 2003
- Michael Steyn, Vice president Community Development, resigned on March 26 2003
Gabriel intends to sequence the transition as smoothly as possible, focusing instead on the appointments of the relevant successors. All these individuals had only recently joined Gabriel. In a press release dated June 12, 2002, the company announced the appointment of these key executives to its management team as a confirmation of "Gabriel's ongoing commitment to establish an experienced management team with a proven track record of having previously permitted, constructed, commissioned and operated major gold projects."
In a telephone conversation with a member of Alburnus Maior, the local opposition group, Michael Steyn confirmed the departure of the above-mentioned executives. When asked for reasons of his resignation, Mr. Steyn said that "the project is a huge challenge and I want to spend more time with my children."
According to Herwig Schuster of Greenpeace CEE, Bruce Marsh equally confirmed his resignation. Mr. Marsh refused to give reasons but said that he will stay for a transition period after which he will have nothing to do anymore with the mining company.
On March 27, 2003, Frank Vasile Timis, Gabriel's controversial founder, chairman of the board, and CEO was replaced by Oyvind Hushovd, who had recently joined Gabriel's board of directors. Mr. Hushovd previously served as president and CEO of Falconbridge Ltd., the Canadian mining company that asked him to resign in February 2002.
From its outset Gabriel has been beleaguered with scandals and operational problems including local, national and international opposition. The development, among other things, requires the resettlement of 2000 people and the destruction of two beautiful valleys that house unique Roman galleries.
"These 'en bloc' resignations are a further blow to Gabriel's professional reputation. Clearly, it is useless for any new management to come to Rosia Montana, again attempting to make us leave. We are 'Motzi'; we are rooted here and will not leave," says Eugen David, president of Alburnus Maior.
In October, 2002, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private lending arm, withdrew from financially supporting the project citing serious environmental and social concerns. More recently, the Romanian Academy, the country's highest scientific authority, dismissed the project outright. Describing it as no less than 'disastrous', it called upon the Romanian government and parliament to put an immediate halt to the project.
For more details on Gabriel's management team visit www.gabrielresources.com.
Bruce Marsh may be contacted on +40 (0) 745 112 512 and Michael Steyn on +40 (0) 740 232 010.
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For more information, contact:
Alburnus Maior: Eugen David (ro.) +40 (0) 740 280 309 or Stephanie Roth +40 (0) 740 342104
Stefania Simion (PATRIR) + 40 (0) 740 36 3393
Joan Kuyek, National Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada at (613) 569-3439