Greece halts activity at Eldorado gold mine

Reuters — The Greek government has temporarily halted work at a Canadian-run gold mine in northern Greece after determining the company had violated some terms, the country’s energy minister said Wednesday.

Speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Energy and Environment Minister Panos Skourletis said Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold, had violated the terms of technical studies, and that the revocation of the approvals for the studies meant work in the mine’s Skouries area was being temporarily halted.

According to documents released by the ministry, the violations concern a project to build a copper and gold processing plant, including ‘not carrying out certain tests on the flash smelting process’ proposed for use. According to the decision, the suspension will be lifted if the company re-submits the necessary documentation and meets the requirements within a year.

Eldorado Gold’s vice president and general manager for Greece, Eduardo Moura, said the company had not received any formal notice from the ministry and was therefore not in a position to comment.

The Skouries mine has had locals divided since early 2011, when Hellenic Gold was granted approval to mine in the northern peninsula of Greece’s Halkidiki region, known for its centuries old forests.

“For the government, investments are welcome, they are necessary, essential, but the companies must also respect the terms to which they have committed so as not to harm the public interest and the environment,” Skourletis said after his meeting with Tsipras.