Greek state issues two previously delayed Hellas Gold renewal licenses in record time

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:40
UPD:17:41
REUTERS/ALEXANDROS AVRAMIDIS

Three licenses promised to mining concessionaire Hellas Gold by Thursday were issued within hours on Wednesday by the relevant environment ministry, 48 hours after Canadian multinational Eldorado Gold very publicly threatened to suspend investment-heavy and labor-intensive operations in Greece.

Tuesday served as an "interim" day whereby assorted ministers and the pro-government press accused Eldorado, and main opposition New Democracy party, of colluding to blackmail the Tsipras government into "cutting corners" in the regulatory and licensing process. Wednesday, however, began with a symbolic takeover of the environment ministry by protesting Hellas Gold miners, followed immediately by Minister Giorgos Stathikis' pledge that licenses were a day away for the Olympiada site, whereas arbitration for the Skouries site would conclude within three months.

The two licenses, which are essentially renewals of previous licenses for electro-mechanical machinery at processing and enrichment facilities, had been held up for months without good reason, according to the management of both Eldorado Gold and its subsidiary, Hellas Gold. 

In issuing the licenses at breakneck speed, by Greek standards, the government merely capped production at one site and repeated that Hellas Gold must safeguard the environment and workers' health.

On its part, company officials expressed satisfaction at the development but said they were waiting for the actual license renewals to arrive at their office.

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