-- During October 2012, a proposal was put before the Alba County Council for the organization of an advisory referendum in respect of the recommencement of mining in the Apuseni region and specifically at Rosia Montana, the location of the Project. The Referendum was organized for December 9, 2012, to coincide with the date for the parliamentary elections.-- The Referendum, which was conducted in adverse weather conditions, saw 62.5 percent of the participants vote in favor of the resolution to resume mining in the Apuseni Mountains and, specifically, mining at the Project. Furthermore, over 78 percent of the eligible voters registered in the community of Rosia Montana voted in favor of the resolution. While the Referendum turn-out was below the threshold of 50 percent of eligible voters required to validate the result, the overwhelming conclusion is a clear demonstration of the groundswell of public support for the Project and job creation, economic regeneration as well as responsible mining in the Apuseni Mountain region.
Project Ownership and Royalty Rates
-- The Company has held discussions with a number of ministries of previous Governments on the potential for a revised ownership interest in the Project, royalty rates for gold and silver production and the route to successful permitting of the Project.-- Since the USL Government came to power in 2012, the Company has had limited discussions with it in respect of Project ownership or royalty rates. However, in 2013 the Prime Minister has reportedly reiterated his view that progress on the permitting status of the Project needs to be aligned with an increase in the State's participation in the Project, through both ownership interest and royalty.
-- As a consequence of the recent political changes, the Company awaits further clarification from the USL Government and the TAC as to the next steps in its environmental review process. While the Minister of Environment has reportedly noted that the TAC review will be re- initiated when matters such as technical guidelines for the implementation of environmental financial guarantees and environmental liabilities enforcement consistent with EU legislation have been adopted into law by Romania, the Company awaits formal clarification from the USL Government and the TAC as to the next steps in its review process. Gabriel remains unable to provide guidance on the time that it might take the TAC to vote on the EIA or to release its recommendation to the Government. Ultimately, the EP must be approved by a Cabinet decision of the Government prior to its issuance.-- The permitting progress of the Project relies heavily on Government approval of the EP and the issuance, in accordance with due process and Romanian law, of various permits and approvals at local, county and federal levels of government. The USL Government has stated it will re- analyze the Project in a transparent manner, based on an open and democratic dialogue, so that the decisions are in accordance with the national interest, environmental protection and European legislation. The Company is looking forward to having an open dialogue with the Government to understand and discuss any and all issues and concerns in relation to the Project.-- As result of the ongoing delays to the permitting process, two of the 19 endorsements to the Company's amended industrial zonal urbanism plan ("Industrial Area PUZ"), which designates an industrial zone under the footprint of the proposed new mine at Rosia Montana, expired during 2012. For one, the Company has obtained a new valid endorsement and, for the second, the Company is in dialogue with the relevant authority on the renewal process. Moreover, as a result of recent modifications to the law governing urbanism plans an additional endorsement has to be obtained, increasing the total number of required endorsements to 23. One equivalent endorsement for the zonal urbanism plan for the Rosia Montana historical protected area ("Historical Area PUZ") which expired in 2012 has now been replaced and consequently 10 out of the total of 13 endorsements necessary for its final approval have been obtained.-- In February 2013, the Romanian Parliament approved certain amendments, originally proposed in 2011, to the legislation concerning the approval of zonal urbanism plans, such as the Industrial Area PUZ. These amendments will come into effect after promulgation by the President of Romania and subsequent publication in the official gazette, the timing for which is unknown. These legislative amendments include the introduction of a new approach concerning the previous approval timeline for certain PUZs and set out a new basis for the construction of industrial facilities based on a General Urbanism Plan ("PUG") containing appropriate urbanism provisions. However, some uncertainties remain regarding the application of the new law in respect of the PUZ approval process. Pending clarification, the process for the approval of the Industrial Area PUZ may be amended and/or delayed further.-- The validity of the existing PUGs for Rosia Montana and Abrud has been extended, pursuant to local council decisions, through to July 2014. Furthermore, RMGC has obtained an extension to the validity of its urbanism certificate, UC-87, through to April 2013. On February 1, 2013, RMGC submitted documentation to Alba County Council for a new urbanism certificate.