After years of struggle and, most recently, his­toric protests throughout Romania and abroad, over 20,000 people took to the streets in Romania last week to protest a mining project in the western com­mune of Roşia Mon­tana. Among the charges brought by the pro­tes­tors were irrev­o­cable harm to a his­toric loca­tion (the Romans mined gold there two thou­sand years ago), envi­ron­mental harm through the use of over 13,000 tons of cyanide (for which there are now far cleaner alter­na­tives for “green gold”), polit­ical cor­rup­tion, and a lack of trans­parency. At issue is the state’s deci­sion to sign a secret con­tract with Cana­dian mining com­pany Gabriel Resources while at the very same time attempting to use its sov­er­eign authority to take pri­vate prop­erty under the guise of serving the “public interest.”

On Monday morning, leading gov­ern­ment offi­cials announced that the project would likely not go for­ward. As a result, Gabriel Resources stocks plunged on the Toronto stock market. Gabriel Resources has threat­ened to sue the gov­ern­ment of Romania for $4 bil­lion dol­lars in dam­ages for breach of var­ious inter­na­tional trade agree­ments and pro­vi­sions of inter­na­tional trade as set out by the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion and the Gen­eral Agree­ment on Tar­iffs and Trade.

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