The Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources said Thursday it would sue Romania for $4.4 billion in alleged losses over a gold mine that Romania's government decided not to approve following protests.
The company said the lawsuit would be filed Friday with a World Bank tribunal, arguing that Romania had violated the "investment treaty ... by licensing and then blocking the implementation" of projects "without due process and without compensation."
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Jonathan Henry, Gabriel's CEO, said the company had "operated in good faith and.... complied with all applicable Romanian and European Union legal and regulatory requirements," to obtain permits for the mine. It was granted an exploration license in 1999 for the Rosia Montanta Mining project in which Gabriel owns an 80.69 percent share, and a Romanian state-owned mining company 19.31 percent.
The open mine project would have been Europe's largest gold mine. Gabriel said it would have injected up to $24 billion into the country's economy.
But the prospect of the mine provoked huge environmental protests over the use of cyanide in the extraction process. Civic groups said it would damage Roman-era mining shafts and the government withdrew its support for the project in 2014.
Romania has to respond to the suit early next year. The court will hear arguments in September 2019.