Main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday met with Hellas Gold workers in northern Greece, warning that the company’s mining operation at the Skouries site is threatened due to the leftist government’s opposition to the concession.
A majority of Hellas Gold is owned by Canadian mining giant Eldorado Gold. The Skouries project has faced years of opposition by a loose alliance of a portion of the local communities, environmentalists but also far-left anti-capitalist groupings.
“It’s ironic that the prime minister refers to investments when the government is doing the exact opposite,” Mitsotakis said, referring to a same-day visit to the headquarters and research facilities of an organic cosmetics company outside Athens by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The Greek premier toured the Apivita company, which was recently bought out by Spanish multinational Puig.
In repeating his criticism of the leftist-rightist coalition government as hostile to investments and free enterprise in the country, Mitsotakis said the “the danger for Skouries is on the horizon … we’re talking about one of the biggest production investments in the country … but because of ideological reasons it (government) is deliberately delaying the licensing for the investment.”
He also reminded that the Council of State (CoS), Greece’s highest administrative court, has ruled in favor of Hellas Gold in 16 separate cases involving its Skouries operations.
“ND believes in the development of the country’s mineral wealth, always with absolute respect to the environment. My primary concern is to create jobs,” he said.