Greek High Court Backs Hellas Gold, Tosses SYRIZA Study Order

File- 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)

ATHENS – Greece’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, effectively set aside a requirement by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that an environment study had to be completed by Hellas Gold before it could proceed on a project in northern Greece.

The court reportedly ruled in favor of critical points in a motion filed by Hellas Gold, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold, overturning a 2016  development ministry decision ordering the study.
Hellas Gold submitted the study needed to begin operation of its metallurgical unit at the Skouries gold mining concession, in the eastern part of Halkidiki prefecture.

At the time, SYRIZA and then-energy minister Panos Skourletis returned the study, without approval, to the company “for reasons of substantive deficiency and inaccuracy,” without explaining what that meant as the party was accused by critics of wanting to keep out foreign investors and companies.

With the pro-business New Democracy now in power after ousting the Leftists in July 7, 2019 snap elections, a majority of the court ruled in favor of Hellas Gold, another in a string of legal victories for the company, said the business newspaper Naftermporiki.

The metallurgical unit is the main processing plant, where mined deposits yield the final raw material of gold.