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Romania Asks Court to Annul Eldorado Mine Environment Permit

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Romania filed a court request to annul an environmental permit for a gold-mine project owned by Canada’s Eldorado Gold Corp. claiming issuance irregularities, Environment Minister Rovana Plumb said.

The ministry also wants to suspend the permit for Eldorado’s Certej mine throughout the court trial because it was issued in July by the regional agency for environmental protection in the western Timisoara county without the national agency’s knowledge, Plumb told reporters in Bucharest today.

“We are taking a step to repair an illegality,” Plumb said. “There have been several gaps and irregularities in the permitting process. The permit is illegal because it violates Romanian and European legislation since one of the neighboring countries, namely Hungary, sent us negative feedback.”

The Environment Ministry started an investigation into the Certej mine permit earlier this month after non-profit organizations, including Alburnus Maior, challenged it, citing “an extremely dangerous precedent for Romania” because of environmental issues caused by using cyanide to extract gold.

Eldorado said on Sept. 14 that the permit was granted in “full compliance” with all Romanian legislation and European Union regulations. The permitting included a “comprehensive public consultation process in Romania and with neighboring countries,” it said.

Plumb said the ministry will respect any court ruling.

Rosia Montana

The ministry is also assessing the permitting of another gold mine project owned by Canadian company Gabriel Resources Ltd. in Rosia Montana, in the center of the country.

Plumb said there is no connection between the permitting process of the two projects and the Certej permit is not a precedent for the Rosia Montana mine.

“The Rosia Montana project is still under evaluation as it is of national interest and requests a serious and responsible approach,” Plumb said. “The technical committee for the project’s analysts will not meet again until the procedure about financial guarantees is completed.”

The permitting process may go ahead once the country translates into its legislation some European Union directives about industrial and mining waste, Plumb said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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