Mining giant Eldorado Gold got the green light to move forward with a controversial investment in Halkidiki, after an arbitration panel ruled in its favour. The Canadian company was in dispute with the Greek state over the mining project at Madem Lakkos, which saw its permit procedure put on hold, following claims that Eldorado’s 2014 technical report on the Madem Lakkos metallurgy plant violated the environmental terms of the 2003 contract it signed with the Greek state.
“We believe this decision provides a foundation to allow us to advance dialogue with the Greek government in order to define a mutually agreeable and clear path forward for our Kassandra investments,” reads the statement of Hellas Gold, the canadian company’s branch which controls the Halkidiki Mines. The company is planning its next moves, with a meeting with Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis to take place after orthodox Easter.
“We look to the Greek state to fulfill its obligations under the transfer contract including issuing the outstanding permits for the Skouries project,” notes the company in its statement, stressing that “the full, efficient and responsible development of the Kassandra assets will benefit the Greek state and its citizens, the local communities, our shareholders and our teams of Greek employees.”
In its initial response, the Ministry stated that it will honour the pledge to respect the panel’s ruling but set three criteria that must be fulfilled to make sure that the mine will “produce pure gold,” and called the investment to proceed with the widest possible social consensus. This was seen as a nod to the significant proportion of locals who oppose mining in the forested country’s north because they believe the activity would hurt the regional tourism industry, destroy the area’s rich vegetation and pose a contamination risk to the groundwater.