Romania wins at ICSID in the Rosia Montana case (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/31 – Gabriel Resources Ltd. and Gabriel Resources (Jersey) v. Romania

On 8 March 2024, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, D.C., an international jurisdiction created by the World Bank, notified the arbitral award in the above-mentioned arbitration case, according to which Romania won the case. According to the award, the claimants Gabriel Resources Ltd. and Gabriel Resources (Jersey) were ordered to reimburse Romania for the costs of the arbitration proceedings.

The judgment is final, but within 120 days from the date of communication of the judgment, an action for annulment may be brought, in which case another arbitral tribunal will be constituted.

According to Art. 52 para. (1) of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States, any party to the arbitration may request in writing, to the Secretary-General, the annulment of the award on one of the following grounds:

a) the tribunal was not properly constituted;

b) the Tribunal has manifestly exceeded its powers;

c) there was corruption on the part of a member of the tribunal;

d) there has been a serious departure from a fundamental rule of procedure; or

e) the award has failed to state the reasons on which it is based.

The arbitral tribunal was composed of Prof. Pierre Tercier (President of the Tribunal), Dr. Horacio A. Grigera Naón and Prof. Zachary Douglas.

The arbitral proceedings were initiated by Gabriel Resources in July 2015, with the statement of claim alleging that Romania had breached the Canada-Romania bilateral investment treaty and the UK-Romania bilateral investment treaty, including the obligation not to expropriate investments without compensation.

For these reasons, Gabriel Resources requested that Romania pay a total of approximately USD 6.7 billion, including interest.

In its defense, Romania argued that Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (a consortium between Gabriel Resources and the Romanian state-owned company Minvest) failed to meet the permitting requirements, largely as a result of its failure to obtain a social licence for the mining project.

In reaching this ruling, the Arbitral Tribunal took into account the environmental, social, cultural and economic challenges faced by the mining project, finding that the Romanian authorities had “fulfilled their regulatory mandate to the best of their ability in these difficult circumstances”.

We note that the arbitral award will be available on the website of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes at the World Bank (ICSID) as soon as the confidential information is anonymised in the award.

Romania was represented in this arbitration case by the consortium of law firms LALIVE Geneva and Leaua Damcali Deaconu Păunescu (LDDP).

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