Canadian Mining Journal

News

CANADIAN MINING PERSPECTIVES: Hill takes on the mountain of opposition

Has Alan Hill, the president and CEO of GABRIEL RESOURCES, had the last straw from those opposed to development of ...



Has Alan Hill, the president and CEO of GABRIEL RESOURCES, had the last straw from those opposed to development of Gabriel’s Rosia Montana gold project in Romania? It would appear so from what he said at a news conference in Bucharest on Sept. 5, 2007.

Hill blasted the organized opposition to his company’s proposed mine, naming the names of individuals and quoting from their correspondence to other mining companies. If his allegations can be substantiated, he paints a grim picture of the opposition trying at every turn to stop his company so that the project can be turned over to someone else.

In his presentation, Hill laid out what he believes to be the facts behind the organizations that oppose the Rosia Montana project. “Local opposition” is not local, he said. The NGO purported to represent the view of the nearby village is supported by foreign money and individuals, specifically Hungarians who may be waiting to snap up Rosia Montana should Gabriel pull out. He says the proposed ban on cyanide use in Romania is being rammed through parliament by foreign interests. He says he has copies of a letter from George Soros to NEWMONT MINING (which holds Gabriel shares) warning the American company against further involvement with Gabriel and Rosia Montana. (Soros is the American financier born in Hungary who made his millions in mining and whose company once moved a village and church to develop a mine, says Hill.) Appended to Hill’s remarks are copies of correspondence, technical evaluations and translations. Readers will find the entire address at www.GabrielResources.com; click on “Press Conference – Bucharest” under the What’s New heading.

Hill is not mincing words. He is angry with NGOs and “local” opposition that are supported by Hungarian money. He is angry at the tone of certain correspondence sent to Gabriel’s largest shareholder. Yet through it all, he asks only two things:

“I challenge the groups opposing us: Play by the same rules we do. Tell us the truth about why you oppose our project – because it cannot be based on the reasons you state publicly. Tell us who funds you. Do not demand transparency of everyone else and operate from secrecy yourselves. And why won’t you meet with us to debate the issue in public in a fair and transparent way? What do you have to hide?

“My second challenge is to members of the media: Unveil the truth. Help us learn more about these forces opposing our project – their methods and motivations. And bring the facts of what you find before the Romanian people.”

Hill’s public statements probably reflect only a tiny bit of the frustration he feels in private.
I dont know why the Rosia Montana project has been singled out for such vocal and well-funded opposition. Gabriel promises to be a responsible mine operator. It is well aware of best practices in environmental protection and sustainable development. It has access to the world’s most effective technology to reach these goals. It is committed to injecting billions of Euros toward the growth of the Romanian economy. And the company will meet or exceed the strict European Union standards for mining.

I agree with Hill. He has made a reasoned case about the nature of the opposition his company faces in Romania. It is past time that those who oppose this mine conduct themselves in as transparent a manner as must a publicly traded company. And it is time for the truth of the matter to be uncovered by impartial journalists.