Stop the corporate attack on Europe

Following international protest, the Romanian government has decided not to proceed with a destructive gold mine that would destroy four mountains, forcibly displace two entire villages and create a toxic cyanide lake in the Roșia Montană region.

But now, the mining company behind the mine, Gabriel Resources, is suing Romania for billions of dollars through a secret corporate court established in a treaty with the UK. It is the same kind of corporate court that would be included in the EU-US “trade” deal, TTIP.

Please stand with the people of Roșia Montană against this attack on democracy, and tell David Cameron to review and stop the case.

Geamana in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania - an abandoned village in what is now a toxic tailings pond from a nearby copper mine. Photo: Glyn Thomas Photography
This photo shows Geamana in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains. This town wasn't as lucky as Roșia Montană. The submerged church tower is part an abandoned village in what is now a toxic tailings pond from a nearby copper mine.

Photo: Glyn Thomas Photography

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Background information

Read more about this story

Our piece in The Independent Corporate vampires have tried to suck $4 billion out of Romania, and with TTIP the UK could be next, explains more about what's at stake.

Our letter to David Cameron

Along with several other organisations, we sent a letter to prime minister David Cameron. The letter we're asking you to send is very similar. The full text is below:

David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

12 August 2015

Dear Prime Minister

Request for intervention to prevent a Canadian company using British investment treaty to sue Romania 

We are deeply concerned that a Canadian mining company called Gabriel Resources has filed a claim against the government of Romania at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). We believe the company has accused Romania of unfair treatment with regard to its inability to approve Europe's largest open pit cyanide mine. The project has been faced since its beginning in early 2000 with massive opposition on social, environmental, economic and cultural grounds. These include cyanide tailing waste, the blasting away of four mountains, and relocation of thousands of people.

The locals of Rosia Montana, along with numerous organisations united in the Save Rosia Montana campaign, challenged the legality of key permits, having them permanently annulled by national courts. In 2013 Gabriel Resources attempted to pressure Romania's government to approve the mine by passing a law through parliament to declare their mine of overriding national interest. This triggered national and international protests which remain to date the biggest social mobilisation in Romania since the fall of communism in 1989.

Many Romanian institutions including the Romanian Geological Institute and Romanian Academy have spoken against the project and its methods. Furthermore,  Investigative journalism indicates a number of alleged illegalities associated with this corporation's actions in winning the contract for this project. The company has been under investigation in Romania in connection with tax evasion and money laundering.

Two parts of the same corporation have brought this arbitration case, one called Gabriel Resources (Jersey), whose involvement enables the company to utilise the UK-Romania Bilateral Investment Treaty.

In recent campaigns focussing on the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, we have been given regular assurances by your government that you only support the utilisation of investor State Disputes Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms in ‘legitimate’ cases. it is our understanding that your government agrees with the European Commission’s desire to stop:

“so– called “shell” or “mailbox” companies, owned or controlled by nationals or companies not intended to be protected by the agreement and having no real business activities in the country concerned, to make use of an investment agreement to launch claims before an ISDS tribunal.” (source)

We are concerned that Gabriel Resources (Jersey) does not represent a significant or genuine business interest in the UK, and therefore that any claim launched by that entity should be discounted.

We therefore call on you to

(a)  investigate this situation, and if you find evidence that Gabriel Resources (Jersey ) has no real business activities,

(b)  present evidence to ICSID that, in your opinion, they should not be covered by the provisions of the UK-Romania agreement.

We look forward to hearing from you further about this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now
John Christensen, Tax Justice Network
Tim Jones, Jubilee Debt Campaign
Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Bert Schouwenburg, GMB
Ruth Bergan, Trade Justice Movement
Liz May, Traidcraft Exchange
John Hilary, War on Want
Blanche Jones, 38 Degrees
Emma Hughes, Platform
Richard Solly, London Mining Network
Chris Baugh, The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
Anca Giurgiu, Environmental and Social Change – London
Ciprian Diaconita, Rosia Montana UK Support Group
Sujata Dey, the Council of Canadians
Jamie Kneen, Mining Watch Canada
Meera Karunananthan, Blue Planet Project
Eugen David, Alburnus Maior Association on behalf of the Save Rosia Montana Campaign
Tudor Bradatan,
Roxana Pencea, Mining Watch Romania Network

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