Eldorado Gold updated Greek mine plan reduces 'footprint'

TORONTO, March 29 (Reuters) – Canada's Eldorado Gold Corp filed a new technical report for its contentious Skouries gold mine project in Greece on Thursday, which said it "significantly" reduces the development's environmental footprint.

The miner, which also filed updated reports for projects in Turkey and Canada, took a tough stand with Greece in November, freezing investment and suspending operations in Skouries following a years-long permit tussle with the government.

The Skouries report updates a 2011 plan with industry-best practices for waste water management and tailings, the report said. A change to filtered tailings, for example, will reduce the environmental disturbance from tailings and waste rock, it added.

"This compact mine plan utilizes industry best practice to minimize disturbance to the natural environment, including surface water and ground water impacts," the report said.

It will cost an estimated $689 million to build the mine, which has 3.77 million ounces of gold reserves, 779 million pounds of copper and a 23-year operation plan.

The report projects a 21 percent after-tax internal rate of return and net present value of $925 million.

Greece, which launched arbitration with Eldorado in November, has argued that the company violated its contractual obligations by submitting a deficient plan for a metallurgical plant to process ore.

Proceedings are expected to conclude by April 6, Eldorado said in a recent filing.

Last year, as permitting delays slowed development in the second half, Skouries' capital expenditure came in at $73.2 million.

The project ramp-down is near completion, Eldorado said in a filing. For 2018, it has forecast $20 million in development capital with future care and maintenance costs estimated at $3 million to $5 million annually.

(Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Richard Chang)