Greece sus­pends work at Cana­dian-run gold mine

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

The Greek gov­ern­ment has tem­po­rar­ily halted work at a Cana­dian-run gold mine in the north af­ter de­ter­min­ing the com­pany had vi­o­lated some terms of the con­ces­sion, Greece's energy min­is­ter said.

Hel­lenic Gold, a sub­sidiary of Van­cou­ver­based El­do­rado Gold, vi­o­lated the terms of its tech­ni­cal stud­ies and los­ing ap­provals for those means work in the mine's Sk­ouries area is on hold, Energy and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Panos Sk­ourletis said af­ter a meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments re­leased by the min­istry, the vi­o­la­tions con­cern a pro­ject to build a cop­per and gold pro­cess­ing plant, in­clud­ing not car­ry­ing out cer­tain tests on the flash smelt­ing process pro­posed for use. Ac­cord­ing to the de­ci­sion, the sus­pen­sion will be lifted if the com­pany re-sub­mits the nec­es­sary doc­u­men­ta­tion and meets the re­quire­ments within a year.

Hel­lenic Gold man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michalis Theodor­akopou­los voiced sur­prise at the de­ci­sion. "Hel­lenic Gold has never bro­ken the law. (It) is now at the stage of as­sess­ing the min­is­te­rial de­ci­sion, with which we dis­agree, and which threat­ens the sur­vival of 5,000 peo­ple," he said, adding that the com­pany would "de­fend (it­self) with all le­gal means at its dis­posal."

The con­tro­ver­sial min­ing pro­ject has met with fierce re­sis­tance from those say­ing it will ir­repara­bly dam­age the en­vi­ron­ment in north­ern Greece. But as a ma­jor for­eign in­vest­ment, it has been seen as a test case for Greece's abil­ity to at­tract in­ter­na­tional in­vestors as it bat­tles a deep fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

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