Eldorado Gold Corp. plans to discontinue investment at its operating mines, development projects and exploration assets in Greece. Despite repeated attempts by Eldorado and its Greek subsidiary, Hellas Gold, to engage with the Greek government, the Ministry of Energy and Environment and other government agencies, delays continue in issuing routine permits and licenses for the construction and development of the Skouries and Olympias projects in Halkidiki, northern Greece. These permitting delays have had a negative impact on project schedules and costs, ultimately hindering the Eldorado’s ability to effectively advance development and operation of these assets.
With the exception of a care and maintenance program and necessary environmental safeguarding costs, Eldorado has decided no additional investment will be made for the Kassandra Mines (Olympias, Skouries, Stratoni) in Halkidiki, the Perama Hill and Sapes projects in Thrace, and any exploration activity in the country. Funds that were budgeted to be invested into community spending and infrastructure development will be phased out. Similarly, tax revenues at the municipal, regional and national levels will also be affected.
“It is extremely unfortunate to find ourselves at this impasse when we should be advancing an important commercial project in partnership with Greece and adding another 1,200 jobs to our current workforce of approximately 2,400 people,” said George Burns, president and CEO, Eldorado Gold. “Eldorado’s investment in Greece is about building a world-class operation that can exist as a long-term partner to Greece and has the ability to promote advanced skills and training for its people and deliver well-paying jobs to sustain families and local businesses. Of equal importance, as a commercial partner, this business can provide much-needed tax and export revenue for generations.”
Skouries and Olympias projects and the Stratoni mine will be placed on care and maintenance starting September 22. The company said suspension and termination of contractors and employees will be done in accordance with applicable labor regulations in Greece. Environmental protection works and care and maintenance activities will continue in order to safeguard the environment and the assets. The company estimates that a total of $30 million will be spent to prepare for care and maintenance activities, with sustaining maintenance costs of approximately $25 million annually.