Canada presses Greece on 'troublesome' Eldorado Gold delays: Minister

Miners protest threatened mine suspension in Greece

Miners protest threatened mine suspension in Greece

The miners from the Eldorado Gold mine in the Halkidiki region were seeking assurances for their jobs after Eldorado Gold said Monday it would suspend operations except for maintenance and environmental work on September 22 unless licenses it said were pending were issued in time.

This is the third time in as many years that Eldorado Gold has made similar announcements.

The company said on Monday that no additional investment would be made into Olympias and Skouries projects and the Stratoni mine from September 22, only days after the leftist-led government urged investors to show confidence in Greece as it emerges from crisis. "However, we are still waiting on other permits".

The uncertainty about Eldorado's Greek projects has weighed heavily on its share price, which is down 48 percent in the past year, touching a 14-year low of C$2.24 on August 4.

Greece's Environment & Energy Minister, Giorgos Stathakis called an ultimatum by Canadian miner Eldorado Gold that it will suspend its investment in Greece, "unimportant".

Eldorado, which is targeting copper, gold, lead, silver and zinc, bought the Greek assets for almost $2 billion in 2012 and has invested over $1 billion in developing them.

About 100 workers in yellow vests rallied outside the ministry early on Wednesday unfurling a banner reading "Occupation" in front of a police cordon, and police fired some rounds of tear gas to disperse them. It says it employs about 2,000 people in Greece, where unemployment stands at 21.2 percent, the euro zone's highest.

The mines in Halkidiki have faced vehement opposition from many in the local communities, who say they fear widespread pollution and the destruction of forests.

Greece says the ores to be produced will contain arsenic well above accepted levels, and the government should make sure the company fully abides by environmental rules.

The Greek energy ministry has said it would launch an arbitration process this week to ensure the company's Greek unit, Hellas Gold, respects its contractual obligations.

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