Eldorado Gold says Greece blocking construction at Skouries mine
Vancouver gold company has environmental officials revoked approval for processing plant
Eldorado Gold says environment officials in Greece have revoked approval for its Greek subsidiary, Hellas Gold S.A., to complete final construction of the processing plant at its Skouries project in northeastern Greece.
Eldorado says it believes the notice from the Ministry of Productive Reconstruction, Energy and Environment has no legal basis and will take action to protect its legal rights if necessary.
The notice came Friday in a letter in which the ministry said the revocation may be reversed once it completes an internal review. The ministry did not say when the review would be completed.
Meanwhile, Eldorado said "at this moment" the revocation has no material impact on the construction schedule of the Skouries project and that various site activities continue unabated.
2,000 people working on project
It also noted the integrity of the Environmental Impact Assessment — the main environmental permit supporting its projects in Halkidiki, Northern Greece — had been confirmed by three separate rulings of the Council of State, which is Greece's supreme court on administrative and environmental matters.
Eldorado CEO Paul Wright said the company has some 2,000 people working directly for it and its contractors "making a significant contribution to the economy of the country during challenging times."
"Since 2012 we have invested in excess of US$450 million on the construction and development of two mines in Greece — Skouries and Olympias," he said.
"Once these two mines reach commercial production, Hellas Gold will become one of Greece's top exporters," Wright added, but warned that if the ministry's decision is not reversed in "a timely manner" the company may be forced to "reconsider its investment plans for Greece."
Eldorado Gold Corp. is involved in four gold mining projects, all in northern Greece which have bitterly divided communities, including Skouries. Opponents of the projects include owners of houses rented to tourists, environmentalists and leftist activists opposed to any foreign investment.
Vancouver-based Eldorado has is a gold producer with mining, development and exploration operations in Turkey, China, Greece, Romania and Brazil.