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Mining News September 12, 2017 01:30:27 PM

Delay in Permits Leads to Halt in Mining Activities

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
The decision is believed to be in protest against the long delays by the Greek government authorities in issuing mining permits to certain key projects.
Delay in Permits Leads to Halt in Mining Activities

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Canadian mining firm, Eldorado Gold has announced that it has decided to halt all operations in Greece with effect from September 22nd. The decision is believed to be in protest against the long delays by the Greek government authorities in issuing mining permits to certain key projects.

Meantime, the company noted that environmental protection works and care and maintenance activities will not be impacted due to this decision.This is the second time that the company has suspended operations in Greece. Earlier in January 2016, it had suspended Skouries operations for a brief period of almost five months, following fierce protests by local residents against mining activities.

George Burns, Eldorado Gold’s chief executive stated that the company is currently not in a position to invest in the country due to the delays. The lengthy wait for necessary licenses has badly impacted the company’s project schedule and costs. The Greek administration had recently expressed opposition to the Skouries gold-extraction project in northern Greece, which according to the company, is running more than two years behind the original schedule.

Eldorado Gold is believed to have spent nearly $450 million in construction and development of the Skouries and Olympias mines. Also, it had plans to invest additional $200 million this year. The project could have contributed hundreds of millions into the Greek economy and would have generated thousands of jobs, said Burns.

Touted as the company’s flagship project in Greece, Skouries has been a bone of contention between the company and government authorities. The Greek Ministry of Energy had ordered the company to halt production at the mine, citing lack of on-site technical studies. Eldorado Gold had threatened legal action following this. Earlier in April, the company had won a crucial order in their favor from one of Greece’s top courts. The court order had ruled that the rejection of plan of operations by a local government authority was totally illegal.

Those opposing mining in the area claim that mining acts would pose big threat to local tourism industry. Furthermore, it would destroy the rich forest wealth in the area and cause contamination to groundwater. On the other hand, Eldorado claims that all necessary measures have been taken to ensure safety and protection of surroundings. It notes that claims by environmentalist groups and protestors are absolutely baseless.

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