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News Release

Open Letter to Foreign Affairs Minister and Members of Parliament: Corporate Accountability and Withdrawal of Canadian Support for Gabriel Resources in Romania

Source: 
MiningWatch Canada – Greenpeace – Friends of the Earth – Council of Canadians – Earthworks – Alburnus Maior – Mining Watch Romania – Canada Save Rosia

(Ottawa, December 5, 2013) MiningWatch Canada, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Council of Canadians, and Earthworks join the call of Romanian and Canadian protesters to request the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Members of Parliament for: (1) introduction of legislation to make Canadian corporations, particularly extractive industry corporations, accountable for proposed projects and actual operations abroad and (2) withdrawal of Canadian Government support for Gabriel Resources’ mining project in Romania at Roşia Montană. The the open letter is attached below.

The Roşia Montană mining project entails serious environment and social impacts and risks: four mountains crushed; three villages destroyed; an eight kilometre long and 400-metre deep crater, visible from space; a 215-million cubic metre cyanide lake that will remain there forever; the use of 13,000 tons of cyanide per year (in the EU the average amount of cyanide used is 1-3,000 tons; several European countries have banned mining using cyanide); a budget allocated by the company for possible environmental disasters of only $25 million US; the destruction of large area of significant natural and cultural heritage and the expropriation of citizens to clear the way for the mining project. In the long run, locals will have no economic opportunities once the project is completed.

Gabriel Resources is a junior mining company and the beginnings of the project in Romania are associated with illegalities exposed by several investigative journalism reports. The leader of the Romanian Senate stated recently that the project and all those involved in approving it will be investigated by the Justice department; a Senate Special Commission drew attention to possible breaches of legislation during the development of project licencing for Roşia Montană and recommended the declassification of so far classified documents relating to it. Currently the company is being investigated in connection with a tax evasion and money laundering case. We ask that Canada not stand behind this destructive and controversial resource extraction endeavour.

“Gabriel Resources is clearly demonstrating why the Canadian mining industry has such a terrible reputation, despite its ‘responsible mining’ rhetoric. A responsible company would respect the community’s wishes, not try for years to intimidate and expropriate them,” said Jamie Kneen, of MiningWatch Canada.

Tens of thousands have been protesting the project for the last several months in Canada, Romania, and around the world, the largest public protests Romania has seen since the fall of Communism. More than 2,000 have specifically called on the Canadian government to withdraw its support for Gabriel Resources’ project by signing the petition ‘Destructive Mining in Romania, Not in My Name’ at http://www.change.org/petitions/canada-support-for-destructive-mining-in-romania-not-in-my-name.

We are deeply disturbed by the ill-considered support of the Canadian government to this project, which has more than serious environmental, juridical and economic flaws.

We ask for the withdrawal of Canadian government lobbying support and assistance to Gabriel Resources’ Roşia Montană gold mining project.

We call on Members of Parliament to support the development of Canadian legislation that would hold Canadian mining corporations operating abroad accountable for their actions.

Contacts:

Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Earth, (613) 724-8690, beatrice@foecanada.org
Brent Patterson, Council of Canadians, (613) 882-4408, bpatterson@canadians.org
Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439, jamie@miningwatch.ca
Yossi Cadan, Greenpeace Canada, (416) 597 8408 x3037, yossi.cadan@greenpeace.org
Shreema Mehta, Earthworks, (202) 887-1872 x102, smehta@earthworksaction.org
Alexandru Riza, Greenpeace Romania, alexandru.riza@greenpeace.ro
Eugen David, President, Alburnus Maior Association, alburnusmaior@ngo.ro
Roxana Pencea, Communications Coordinator, Mining Watch Romania, roxana@rosiamontana.ro
Eugen Melinte, Canada Save Rosia, (514) 893-9239, ame01@gmx.net