Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis slammed Eldorado Gold’s decision to suspend operations in Greece, by saying that “we are witnesses of an unprecedented fact, a company CEO speaking in news conferences and judging prime ministers, cabinet ministers and political parties in Greece. It is rather clear that the company has not used to operate in European countries”.
This investment must “first, ensure that there will be no negative environmental and ecological footprint that will affect the health of residents and the economic activities of the wider region and dozens of investments, especially in the tourism sector, which offer employment and income to the inhabitants and second, Hellenic Gold proceeds to full vertical integration with the production of pure gold and other metals in Greece and not to concentrate on the extraction of condensates”, the minister stressed.
Stathakis also noted that“de facto, the licensing environmental system includes detailed procedures for each individual activity in order to comply with current European and national legislation. The most basic pending issue is the completion of the company’s investment plan to full vertical production. The State Council rejected the first proposal on the use of cyanide in gold production. The company’s second proposal, which uses the flash smelting method, has been returned by the ministry for almost one year with technical observations and a re-submission is expected.”
Regarding the settlement of the outstanding issues, the minister explained that the company proposed a technical dialogue with the ministry, while the ministry recommended an arbitration, the recourse to which has been announced since last May by the Prime Minister. Following that, in July, the ministry initiated the necessary administrative procedures to the State Legal Council, and the latter would officially launch its process by September 15th.
With regard to the alleged delay of licensing by the ministry, Stathakis explained that so far 60 pct of the Skouries sub-project and the Olympiada have been licensed.
“The pending licenses of the Olympiada, as announced by the ministry a month ago, would be approved by mid-September, a timetable known by the company. This is the six-month license to run the Olympiada project in order to proceed smoothly until the arbitration expires. The company’s choices towards employees are obviously its own responsibility,” Stathakis pointed out./IBNA