Eldorado Gold Wants 750 Million Euros from Greece Over Mine Delays

In this undated photo provided on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, by Hellas Gold company, employees work inside a gold mine complex in Skouries, in the Halkidiki peninsula, northern Greece. (Hellas Gold via AP)

THESSALONIKI – Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold said its Greek subsidiary, Hellas Gold, has filed an application for payment of 750 million euros for damages suffered by delays from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition in issuing permits for the Skouries project.

The mining operation in northern Greece near Thessaloniki has repeatedly been set back by protests from residents worried about environmental problems and a hit to tourism and with forces in SYRIZA eager to stop foreign companies from doing business.

The company said it’s also seeking damages for out of pocket costs and loss of profits. The Application is a non-judicial request for payment and does not initiate legal proceedings.

George Burns, Eldorado Gold’s President and CEO said, “The Application represents a good-faith attempt to resolve the matter with the Greek State as it relates to costs incurred resulting from permit delays to our Skouries project. Eldorado has always acted in a manner consistent with finding a mutually-agreeable solution to responsibly developing Skouries. We hope that this matter can be resolved in an amicable manner without needing to go down the route of arbitration.”

Eldorado is a gold and base metals producer with mining, development and exploration operations in Turkey, Greece, Romania, Canada and Brazil.

In November, 2017, Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas said SYRIZA is taking its time but will solve roadblocks holding up two major projects, development of the old Hellenikon international airport and the Skouries gold mine.

Pitsiorlas is a former head of the country’s privatization agency whose leadership has been a revolving door of management changes as it lags far behind in goals set by the country’s international lenders for the sale of state assets.

Asked about the Hellas Gold mining concession in northern Greece, the biggest industrial investment in the country, Pitsiorlas said the government is trying to work that out too without offering any specifics in either case, repeating previous optimism that hasn’t been borne out yet.

He blamed Hellas Gold for being impatient and not putting up with years of protests and delays, adding that, the “investing company cannot show patience for a few more months, and is instead proceeding with pressure that makes no sense.”