BUCHAREST  - A Canadian mining company Saturday contested the cancellation by Bucharest of its purchase of Romania’s biggest copper miner on the grounds that it had failed to come up with pledges. “None of the three important requirements made by the Romanian state were met by Roman Copper which led us not to sign the privatisation contract for Cupru Min”, Economy Minister Lucian Bode told reporters earlier after hours of negotiations in Bucharest. Among the requirements was the obligation for Roman Copper to deposit 32.7 million euros ($42.8mn) as a guarantee that it will respect its environmental obligations, he said.  The Canadian company was also asked to pay the promised price for Cupru Min within 30 days after getting the required legal permits.

But in a press release sent to the Hotnews.ro website, Roman Copper Corp. said that “the parties reached a final verbal agreement which we were and still are ready to execute in full.”

“This agreement includes terms that were requested by the government and accepted by Roman Copper, even though they were not initially included in the form of the contract presented in the privatisation package,” said Mike Curtis, partner at BayFront Capital Partners, the Toronto-based merchant bank that owns Roman Copper.

“We were surprised that the negotiating committee refused to accept our written signature,” he added, stressing that he considered the contract to be in effect.

“We believe that we have a valid and binding agreement, and we will continue to work in good faith with the Romanian authorities to clarify this matter.”

Roman Copper, created in November 2011 by Bayfront Capital Partners, had won the auction for Cupru Min at the end of March against Australia’s OZ Minerals, Dutch Dundee Holding and Bulgarian Ellatzite-Med AD.

Cupru Min operates the Rosia Poieni mine, in central Romania, which holds reserves estimated at nearly 1.0 million tonnes of copper, among the biggest in Europe, worth $8.3 billion.

The starting price in the auction had been set at $79.5 million.