Romania grants mining rights to US-backed Verde Magnesium

US-backed Verde Magnesium granted mining rights in RomaniaVerde aims to become the EU’s first dedicated primary metallic magnesium producer. Credit: Verde Magnesium

Verde Magnesium plans to invest US$1 billion in Romania as the country’s government has granted it the go-ahead to bring back to life a disused mine, shut down in 2014.

The Bucharest-headquartered company, backed by U.S. private equity investor Amerocap, aims to start production at the western Romania project in 2027.

The mine could be the first new European magnesium metal project in decades and produce as much as 90,000 tonnes of magnesium a year, accounting for around 50% of the European Union’s demand.

The main use for the metal is in aluminum alloying, as the addition of magnesium produces high-strength, corrosion-resistant alloys. Such alloys are commonly used in the manufacturing of beverage cans and as structural components of automobiles and machinery.

Verde, which aims to become the EU’s first dedicated primary metallic magnesium producer, also plans to build processing facilities that would use renewable power to recycle aluminum.

Over 90% of the magnesium the EU uses is imported from China. Due to this dependency, the old continent’s aluminum industry faced significant disruptions in 2022, when China temporarily halted production of the metal due to high energy prices, leading to concerns about potential plant closures within the bloc.

Verde has said it is confident about the project’s success, despite local opposition and environmental challenges that had affected previous projects.

One of the most touted cases was Canada’s Gabriel Resources (TSXV: GBU), which saw its plans to build Europe’s largest open cast gold mine in the western Romanian town of Rosia Montana crushed last month. The government, which had a 20% stake in the project, officially withdrew its support for the mine in 2014 after months of country-wide street protests against it.

After a decade-long legal dispute in which Gabriel Resources sought compensation for it losses, the Washington, D.C.-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes ruled in favour of Romania


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