Gabriel Resources warns of Romania job cuts over mine permit woes

March 13 Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:42am EDT

March 13 (Reuters) - Gabriel Resources Ltd could lay off about 80 percent of the workers at its Romanian subsidiary, or nearly 400 people, unless prospects for its Rosia Montana gold project improve, the Canadian company said on Thursday.

Gabriel, which is trying to secure permits for Rosia Montana, which would be Europe's biggest open-pit gold mine, said it gave the workers redundancy notices, and may terminate contracts, effective May 1.

"We still remain fully committed to constructing and operating a mine at Rosia Montana but we need to see a similar commitment from Romania," Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Henry said in a statement.

Following protests across the country opposing the mine, a parliamentary commission rejected a draft bill in November that would have allowed Rosia Montana to proceed. A second attempt to approve the project as part of a new mining law failed in December.

Gabriel said on Thursday it was "unable to provide guidance" on when the government could approve its environmental permits.