More delays, bureaucratic obstacles bedevil gold mining concession in northern Greece

Thursday, 10 August 2017 12:23

By L. Kalamara

Yet another legal clash is apparently looming between the leftist Greek government and mining multinational El Dorado Gold's subsidiary in Greece, Hellas Gold, over the latter's gasping gold mining concession in the northern Greece prefecture of Halkidiki.

The mining company's operations have for years faced sharp opposition by some local communities, environmentalist groups, anti-capitalist movements in the country and even the current ruling party, SYRIZA, when it was in the opposition. The investment - one of the biggest industrial-level projects in the country - has also faced repeated legal challenges and bureaucratic foot-dragging.

The latest and ominous chapter in the "tug-of-war" between the Greek state and the mining concessionaire is an announcement by the latter that the inauguration of a metallurgical unit at the Olympiada site will be postponed until further notice. The Olympiada site was scheduled to resume operations next month after 23 years of inactivity.

The decision reportedly comes after several licenses needed to operate the facilities have still not been issued by relevant ministries.

Beyond Olympiada, it is the Skouries site, also in Halkidiki prefecture, that has attracted the fiercest opposition.

As expected, the development generated an angry announcement by an association representing Hellas Gold workers.

"... we don't want to be the next 2,400 citizens that will be registered on unemployment rolls, with the SYRIZA-AN.EL government responsible," a statement read, referring to the two parties that form the leftist-rightist government coalition.

"We hope that reason wins out, and that (ideological) obsessions are bypassed, so that September finds workers on the job and not on the streets, protesting against the government."