Canada presses Greece on 'troublesome' Eldorado Gold delays: Minister

Miners protest threatened mine suspension in Greece

Canada presses Greece on 'troublesome' Eldorado Gold delays: Minister

Greece's Energy Minister assured protesting Eldorado Gold workers on Wednesday that it would grant outstanding permits this week to enable the Canadian miner to fully operate one of its Greek projects.

In a statement, Eldorado said it may re-assess its investment options once it has received all the required permits, clarity around the arbitration process and "a supportive government open to discussions surrounding the use and implementation of best available technologies".

Canada's Trade Minister flagged "troublesome" permit delays for Eldorado Gold Corp in a letter to the Greek Minister of Mines and Energy earlier this year, Francois-Philippe Champagne told Reuters on Wednesday.

Speaking on SKAI television on Tuesday, Stathakis explained that a license for the Olympias mining project has been concluded and the issue will be resolved in the next ten days.

Eldorado spent about 2 billion dollars to acquire the Greek assets in 2012 and has invested over 1 billion dollars in developing them. The company employs more than 2,000 staff and contractors in Greece.

"Three permits will be issued as we announced in August, allowing Olympias to be fully operational", he said.

The company's stance has angered the government, which has accused Eldorado Gold of attempting to apply political pressure, timing their announcement two days after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a speech at an annual trade fair stressing Greece was friendly to global investments.

Eldorado's plans to develop its mine operations in the northern region of Halkidiki have provoked violent protests by locals who fear they will ruin a landscape of pristine beaches and lush forests.

It is sensitive for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' Syriza party, which opposed the investment before coming to power in 2015. His government now says it wants the project as long as it is "environmentally and economically sound". A delegation from the protesters later met with Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis.

The government also wants a metallurgical plant as part of its contractual obligations.

It has announced an arbitration process, which aims to resolve pending disagreements over the Skouries project and the metallurgical plant and is likely to start on Wednesday.

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