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

(Ottawa) December 5, 2013. MiningWatch, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, 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 Rosia Montana.

Text of the open letter is here. 

The Rosia Montana mining project entails serious environmental and social impacts and risks: 4 mountains crushed. 3 villages destroyed. An 8 km 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, while in the EU the average volume of cyanide used is 1,000-3,000 tons; several European countries have banned mining using cyanide leaching. A budget allocated by the company for possible environmental disasters estimated at only 25 million USD. The destruction of a 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 alleged 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 Romanian Special Parliamentary Commission drew attention to potential breaches of legislation during the development of project licensing for Rosia Montana and recommended the declassification of so far classified documents relating to it. Currently the company is under investigation in Romania 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, 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' Rosia Montana gold mine project in Romania 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 poses more than serious environmental, juridical and economic risks. 

We ask for the withdrawal of Canadian Government lobbying and assistance to Gabriel Resources' Rosia Montana 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. 

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