Eldorado to soon obtain permit for processing plant in Greece, minister hints

Canada’s Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD)(NYSE:EGO) long-dragged issues in Greece, where the company has been trying to advance two major gold projects for years, may soon be over as the country’s energy ministry said he planned to solve pending differences shortly.

"The main aim is to reach an agreement in the coming weeks within the spirit of the arbitration ruling," energy ministry George Stathakis told Reuters Tuesday without elaborating.

The Vancouver-based firm and Greek authorities have locked horns in the past few years over several issues concerning Eldorado’s plans to mine for gold and other metals in the northern Greek region of Halkidiki.

Since 2012 Eldorado has invested about $3bn in the European country and such figures would double, the company has said, if it was allowed to fully develop its other Greek assets.

The main differences between the parties centre around the projects’ environmental impacts in the forested area and the company’s alleged breached of its contractual obligations.

Eldorado took a tough stand with Greece in November, freezing investment and halting operations in Skouries, adding it would re-assess the decision only after receiving all required permits, coupled with a “supportive government open to discussions” regarding the use and implementation of best available technologies at the project.

The miner also initiated legal actions against the government in order to enforce and protect its rights in Greece. The measures include three lawsuits against minister Stathakis for failing to issue routine installation permits, which Eldorado said caused unjustifiable delays to the development of Skouries.

In March, the company filed a new technical report for the gold project, which said it "significantly" reduces the development's environmental footprint. Shortly after, it was favoured by an arbitration panel which ruled Eldorado’s technical plan to build a metallurgy plant to process concentrate mined from its Skouries and Olympias gold project was valid. The company, however, is still waiting for the necessary permit.

Since 2012 Eldorado Gold has invested about $3 billion in the European country and such figures would double, the company has said, if it was allowed to fully develop its other Greek assets.

Eldorado to soon obtain permit for processing plant in Greece, minister hints

Olympias tailings area in rehabilitation. (Image courtesy of Eldorado Gold.)