In­vest­ments fac­ing prob­lems

Rift widens on gold mines, Elliniko faces pos­si­ble ob­sta­cles and Thes­sa­loniki air­port suf­fers tur­bu­lence

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY CHRYSSA LIAGGOU & ILIAS BELLOS

In­vestors con­tinue to have a tough time in Greece, but the next few days will be cru­cial for two of the coun­try’s big­gest projects: the gold mines in Halkidiki, north­ern Greece, and the de­vel­op­ment of the old Athens air­port plot at Elliniko. Thes­sa­loniki air­port has also felt some tur­bu­lence.

The rift be­tween the govern­ment and El­do­rado Gold re­gard­ing the op­er­a­tion of the gold mines is deep­en­ing, as the govern­ment in­sists on re­sist­ing ar­bi­tra­tion and on us­ing ac­cusatory rhetoric, and the Cana­dian com­pany stays put on its de­ci­sion to sus­pend op­er­a­tions on Septem­ber 22 un­less the nec­es­sary per­mits are is­sued by the day be­fore.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Gior­gos Stathakis yes­ter­day set two terms for the project to go ahead: ad­her­ence to en­vi­ron­men­tal rules and a ver­ti­cal form of pro­duc­tion, with the op­er­a­tion of a me­tal-work­ing fac­tory in Greece, the lat­ter be­ing the main bone of con­tention be­tween the two sides.

To­day and to­mor­row are cru­cial days for Elliniko, as forestry and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal au­thor­i­ties will re­spec­tively de­cide whether they will raise ob­sta­cles to the re­al­iza­tion of the 8bil­lion-euro in­vest­ment for the plot’s de­vel­op­ment.

Mean­while, Trans­port Min­is­ter Chris­tos Spirtzis has turned down a re­quest by Fra­port Greece, as well as var­i­ous lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and ho­tel rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Thes­sa­loniki, to halt plans for what is re­garded as un­nec­es­sary ex­ten­sion work on the run­way of the city’s Make­do­nia air­port.

Spirtzis said late on Mon­day that Fra­port “ought to re­al­ize it is an air­port man­age­ment com­pany and not a firm that will tell a coun­try which projects it should im­ple­ment or not.” 1.1933 He added that the con­sor­tium has not made the in­vest­ments it had to so far, prompt­ing an angry re­sponse by Fra­port yes­ter­day.

The Ger­man-Greek con­sor­tium said that the in­vest­ments promised are on track and will be ready well ahead of their dead­line, “pro­vided the min­istry ap­proves all 14 master plans Fra­port Greece has sub­mit­ted.” It also said it has al­ready im­ple­mented 5,433 in­ter­ven­tions to the 14 air­ports it re­ceived in April.

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