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Gabriel Resources Drops as Romanians Protest Mine

Gabriel Resources Ltd., a gold-mine developer whose biggest shareholder is Paulson & Co., fell the most in four months after Romanians protested the company’s Rosia Montana project.

Gabriel dropped 18 percent to C$1.39 at the close in Toronto, the biggest decline since April 15. Shares of the Whitehorse, Yukon-based company have fallen 41 percent this year.

In Bucharest late yesterday, about 1,000 people protested the mine project and Gabriel’s plan to use cyanide to extract gold, Mediafax news service reported. The rally followed the government’s unveiling last week of a draft law that would set out a plan to allow development of Rosia Montana while increasing its stake in the project.

Romania’s President Traian Basescu said yesterday he may call a referendum next year on Rosia Montana, which the company says would be Europe’s largest gold mine project.

Society is “rightfully” reacting to the situation because Romania suffered from the 2000 Baia Mare spill, Basescu said in an interview with newspaper Adevarul that was broadcast on its website. The accident happened when a dam holding back mine debris burst, flooding the Somes, Tiza and Danube rivers with tens of thousands of tons of cubic meters of cyanide-contaminated water.

Gabriel expected to get parliamentary approval as soon as November, Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Henry said yesterday in a telephone interview. The company has spent more than a decade trying to develop the gold mine.

Hedge fund Paulson owned 16 percent of Gabriel as of May 17, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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