TORONTO - Gabriel Resources Ltd. (TSX:GBU) reported a fourth quarter loss $500,000 as it was forced to increase spending in communications and lawyers amid an ongoing review of its key project by the Romanian government.
Gabriel says that despite various committees put in place to look into the Rosia Montana mine and some of its permits, "no progress or clarity of process has been forthcoming" in the quarter.
As a result, it cannot provide shareholders with any guidance on time frames for the project, and it expects the cash impact to affect first quarter spending.
The loss for the year ended Dec. 31 was $2.5 million, or one cent per share.
The miner has faced significant opposition related to the Rosia Montana project, particularly over the company's planned use of cyanide to extract gold and silver from the ore.
Last year, legislators ruled against a bill that would've allowed the Rosia Montana project to proceed. The company has been waiting for 14 years for permits for the project.
The latest setback came in January, when a tribunal in Romania temporarily suspended a key permit for its Carnic open pit at Rosia Montana after three non-governmental organizations applied for the suspension of the archaeological discharge certificate, pending a court case to cancel the permit.
The company says it is now dealing with a new coalition government, which was sworn in earlier this month, and was forced to lay off 400 Romanian employees, who will be terminated by May 1 if no progress is on the the project.
"We still remain fully committed to constructing and operating a mine at Rosia Montana but we need to see a similar commitment from Romania," said Gabriel Resources chief executive Jonathan Henry.
"With no environmental permitting progress forthcoming, and following expenditure in Romania of $550 million over a fifteen-year period, the company has recently had to give almost 400 Romanian employees notice of redundancy.
All of these jobs and more will be lost unless we see a real and transparent process from the new government in the coming weeks and months to proceed with the project, which has the potential to create over 3,600 jobs."
Rosia Montana has reported resources of 17.1 million ounces of gold and 81.1 million ounces of silver. It is held by Rosia Montana Gold Corp., a Romanian company that is 81 per cent owned by Gabriel.
The company held $42.1 million of cash and cash equivalents as at Dec. 31.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Gabriel shares were trading at $1.17, down two cents.