Greece to begin arbitration process over Eldorado mine plans next month

Greek Energy Minister George Stathakis said Thursday the government expects to kick off an arbitration process over Canada's Eldorado Gold’s (TSX:ELD)(NYSE:EGO) mining plans in the north of the country by mid-September.

"We have decided to resort to arbitration to stop the tug of war that has been going on for many years and have things cleared up," minister Stathakis told state-owned broadcaster ERT.

Licensing for Olympias is in the final stage, while permits for Skouries — the most contentious one — are pending.

He noted the arbitration process is expected to last about three months, though Eldorado has yet to receive formal notice of the looming mediation.

"To be clear, we have not yet received formal notice of arbitration and permits applied for remain unissued," Eldorado's President and chief executive George Burns said in a statement earlier this month. "We continue to evaluate all capital spending and development timelines at our projects in Greece."

The Vancouver-based company, which already operates Stratoni mine in the country’s north, has been trying to develop the Skouries and Olympias projects for years, but local opposition and an ongoing back-and-forth with authorities have delayed progress.

The biggest differences between the company and Greek authorities revolve around testing methods applied to comply with environmental regulations at Skouries, whose final permits are still pending. Last week the company said production is now targeted for 2020, adding it had reviewed the project's capital spending.

Licensing for the company’s Olympias project is in the final stage and Eldorado had said it expects to begin production at the gold, silver, zinc and lead mine before year-end.