Bucharest issued an archaeological discharge certificate for an area in northwestern Romania where a Canadian firm wants to establish a gold mine, according to the Culture Ministry.

The decision was criticized by groups defending the patrimony of the region’s ancient Roman site.

“The department for culture and national patrimony in the Alba region issued an archaeological discharge certificate for a part of the Carnic mountain” after the National Commission for Archaeology approved an archaeology research report, the ministry said in a statement.

Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, which is 80 per cent held by Canadian firm Gabriel Resources, needed this permit for its project to establish an open-cast gold mine in the area. The company is to grant $70 million s for preserving and developing the local patrimony, the ministry explained.

The Cultural Foundation Rosia Montana, a defender of this ancient Roman site, said it would go to court to contest the decision. A previous certificate, given in 2004, was cancelled by an appeal court which ruled that “starting mine activity in the area would affect protected archaeological remains”.

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