Romania's Environment Ministry has decided to suspend the authorization process of the Rosia Montana gold mine project for an unlimited period, Romanian news agency NewsIn says.

Minister Attila Korodi said Thursday that ministry experts proposed the suspension bacause a key urbanism certificate, submitted by the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, had no legal basis.

The Gabriel Resources company, holdering 80% of Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, replied by criticizing the ministry decision which it said showed Romanian authorities' complete defiance of existing legislation.

The decision is based upon a recent change to Romanian law which states that an act similar to a previous one rejected will be automatically rejected until a decision is taken.

Rosia Montana Gold Corporation intends to exploit for about 20 years the gold-rich area of Rosia Montana in Western Romania, in a case that has sparked mass criticism from environmental NGOs and other bodies. The Canadian company plans investments of about 1 billion USD to drill for gold there.