Romanian lawmakers reject amendment that would have allowed Canadian mining project

BUCHAREST, Romania – Romania’s lower house of Parliament has rejected an amendment to a mining law that would have allowed a Canadian company to go ahead with plans to build Europe’s largest open cast gold mine.

Lawmakers voted 160 to 105 with 22 abstentions for the amendment on Tuesday, but that fell 204 votes short of the number needed.

Canada’s Gabriel Resources has been trying to secure permits since 1999 to mine 314 tons of gold in the town of Rosia Montana in northwest Romania. Demonstrators have criticized the use of cyanide in the extraction process and said Romania stands to earn too little.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Parliament before the vote and in the northwestern city of Cluj.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s support of the project led to protests against it.