Investments in jeopardy
After mining firm freezes operations, developer of airport site cites gov’t obstacles
A day after Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold suspended its activities at Skouries in northern Greece, Lamda Development, which is leading a consortium of investors that aims to turn the site of the capital’s former airport into a luxury real estate plot, warned that the future of the Elliniko project is in doubt due to a series of obstacles thrown up by government officials.
In a statement yesterday, Lamda referred to the 16 conditions set out by Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou which effectively annul an agreement between the consortium and the government that was approved by Parliament. “As expected, all the abovementioned reversals and inconsistencies and the constant creation of new obstacles overturn the necessary trust between the parties,” Lamda said. “Simultane- ously, they raise concerns regarding the possibility of the materialization of the development,” it said, adding, “Besides the fact that there are no new findings, the Ministry of Culture declared a new archaeological area.” The new development means that “the company faces an unexpected change in the contractually agreed terms, which adversely affects the Integrated Development Plan,” the statement said, adding that bureaucracy and administrative obstacles were set to increase.
Government sources, however, insisted that the administration would honor all its commitments and indicated that many of the issues broached by Lamda in its statement would be dealt with with a presidential decree to be sent to the Council of State for approval. “We call on the investor to cooperate in good faith, which, as has been proven, is the only way to solve all problems,” one government source said.
The upheaval with the Elliniko project, which was signed three years ago, came a day after another major investor in Greece took issue with government obstacles to its operations.
Eldorado Gold said on Thursday that it was freezing investment at the Skouries gold mine in northern Greece and had appealed to the Council of State to uphold its legal rights. The development raises questions about the prospects for hundreds of workers.
Reacting yesterday, the main conservative opposition New Democracy accused SYRIZA, which leads the ruling coalition, of being “allergic to investments.”