The Roşia Montană case - the spark that ignited Marcel Ciolacu and Dacian Cioloş

English Section / 1 februarie

The Roşia Montană case - the spark that ignited Marcel Ciolacu and Dacian Cioloş

Versiunea în limba română

The government expects a final decision in the Roşia Montană case on February 10, but Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu promises to provide the public with all the documents related to this file, as a result of which the Canadian company Gabriel Resources would receive compensation amounting to several billion dollars.

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said today: "I'm used to the bills coming to me as prime minister for all the stupid things done by others. (...) I understand that by the 10th there will be a final decision in the Roşia Montană case. Yesterday, in the Government meeting, I asked all colleagues who have information and who approved or did not approve this project, to collect all these documents, all the documents from the lawyers we had in this process, so that the Romanians , let them all know the truth. In terms of payments, I firmly believe that we will have a discussion with those who are likely to win this lawsuit. First and foremost, let's see what amount the court will decide. Anyway, I promise you that I will make all the documents, all the abuses, all the political and administrative decisions taken so that Romania loses this process available to you, and the Romanians will know very clearly who was wrong in this case".

Asked about this case, in Brussels - where he was to participate in the extraordinary summit of the European Council, President Klaus Iohannis said: "I think it is good to wait for the decision. But, I am convinced that the Government, in its wisdom, took precautions. I am not part of these efforts, but I expect the Government to do everything necessary".

Sources cited by state that in the government meeting on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, the Roşia Montană case was discussed and that there were several voices who said that the people who should pay the compensation requested by Gabriel Resources are "Dacian Cioloş and those who caused the Roşia Montană scandal".

Regarding this information, European deputy Dacian Cioloş declared today: "Come on, Victor Ponta, be brave, take responsibility! And explain the truth to Marcel too. When they are not stealing for themselves, pesedists are stealing for others. This is how the situation in Roşia Montană translates, where Victor Ponta is the main culprit because he signed the documents that Roşia Montană Gold Corporation needed. Marcel Ciolacu should urgently call his current advisor, Victor Ponta, or his former party leader, the same Victor Ponta, and explain why the Romanians always and always have to pay in their place. Let it be clear to everyone: Roşia Montană is a PSD business from which these people want to make money regardless of how this process will end. Either through illegal exploitation or through percentages resulting from the process. Don't have any doubt that the PSD people are waiting for considerable sums to enter their account. The rest is a political masquerade set up by Marcel Ciolacu and the other beneficiaries. The political scam called PSD gave Romania's gold as a concession to this company and promised to exploit it. Today they try to erase the traces and do not want to take responsibility for their own actions. For this reason, I ask Marcel Ciolacu to take responsibility, he and his friends who put the exploitation in the hands of Gold Corporation against the Romanians who took to the streets to protect a site of universal value".

The former prime minister from 2016 mentions that Roşia Montană Gold Corporation sued the Romanian state in July 2015, when Victor Ponta was prime minister.

Dacian Cioloş stated: "Obviously, Marcel Ciolacu is to blame for Cioloş, who came to the government in December 2015, and not his "honorary" councilor Ponta who, through his actions and that of his friend Vâlcov, who was the head of the Commission for Roşia Montana from the Parliament, led Romania to this dead end. The Government of Ponta and the company Roşia Montană Gold Corporation basically agreed in 2013 to start the project. In the documents from the court it is written in black and white that Victor Ponta admits that he negotiated with RMGC to start the project and promised them the release of the 45 necessary approvals - including the modification of some environmental and heritage laws that protected the Roşia Montană site. Frightened by the people's reaction, Ponta backed off, but the damage had already been done. He put the Romanian state in a serious situation. This is actually the reason why the mining company is asking the Romanian state for billions of euros today. In fact, Victor Ponta publicly admitted, as early as 2015, that because of the mess they made, the state and the citizens will pay compensation".

For his part, former prime minister Victor Ponta, asked today during a program on DC News about the Roşia Montană case, said: "I can write a book about that guy. The scandal was in 2014, before elections Mr. Iohannis said very clearly: "I will never accept Roşia Montană type projects". Not like the scoundrel from Ponta who wanted to make Roşia Montană. I know that I was in London, I listed Romgazul and we had some protesters with Roşia Montană. Well, let him now give that money that was with Roşia Montană. (...) You have to be very stubborn to have some natural resources and not exploit them. Obviously, exploiting, preserving the environment, taking the highest possible royalties, that's something else, but not saying no. They said we were protecting the galleries. I was in those galleries (...), when the miners closed, in 2013, and I promised them that I want and support this. The PNL, then, was against it. Mr. Iohannis was against it and nothing was done. (...) I looked, in 2018 the subject was discussed in the CSAT meeting; now we are in 2024, and the only member of CSAT since then, that I looked at the pictures, is also Mr. Iohannis. In 2021, the PNL-USR Government was happy to have included the Roşia Montană site in the UNESCO Heritage Site. (...) No one will pay, we will pay".

We show that in the process with the Romanian state, Gabriel Resources initially requested compensation in the amount of 3.3 billion dollars through the documents submitted to the file. The company announced in a press release that the arbitral tribunal of the World Bank's International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) declared the proceedings closed on September 14, 2023. The judgment will be given on February 10, 2024.

We remind you that in 2013, tens of thousands of people took to the streets and protested for three weeks against the exploitation of gold in Roşia Montană, which would have destroyed the area. In several cities in the country, including Bucharest, but also abroad, protest actions were organized against the legislative project adopted by the Ponta Government, which was then sent to the Parliament with a view to the exploitation of gold in Roşia Montana. In June 2017, the Canadian company, the majority shareholder Roşia Montană Gold Corporation, called Romania to court citing losses of billions of dollars.

In July 2021, the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Committee decided to register the Roşia Montană site in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and World Heritage in Danger, which means stopping any mining project.

The Roşia Montană scandal originates in 1997, when the authorities granted the concession license for the exploitation of gold and silver ores in the area to the state company Minvest Deva, for a period of 20 years. After four months, the license was transferred to the company with majority private capital Euro Gold Resources, which in 2000 changed its name to Roşia Montană Gold Corporation. The company was established specifically for the exploitation of the Roşia Montană deposit. The company's shareholders were the Canadian company Gabriel Resources and Minvest Deva. The Canadian company was controlled by important names in world business, such as John Paulson, Thomas Kaplan and Beny Steinmetz, sentenced to 5 years in prison in the "Băneasa Farm" case.

According to Gabriel Resources representatives, 300 tons of gold and 1,600 tons of silver can be extracted from the Roşia Montană deposit. Their value was estimated, in 2013, at over 16 billion dollars.