Reacting to an announcement by Canada’s Eldorado Gold Corp that it will suspend investment at its Greek mines and development projects due to regulatory hurdles, opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday accused Greece’s left-led government of driving away foreign investors from the crisis-hit nation.
“SYRIZA has for years done everything to stop the investment. As a result, the company has finally suspended its operations,” Mitsotakis said in a statement.
“The government, with its usual cynicism, is playing political games on the backs of ordinary people who are losing their jobs. At the same time, it continues to damage the country’s international image,” he said.
“All that is happening is sending a very negative message to foreign investors,” he said while accusing the government of snubbing several court decisions green-lighting the company’s mining activity.
Eldorado, which runs Greek subsidiary Hellas Gold, said in an announcement Monday it would continue maintenance and environmental safeguards, but would make no further investment in three mines in the Halkidiki area of northern Greece and two projects in the northeastern province of Thrace.
“Delays continue in issuing routine permits and licences for the construction and development of the Skouries and Olympias projects in Halkidiki, northern Greece,” the company said. “These permitting delays have negatively impacted Eldorado’s project schedules and costs, ultimately hindering the company’s ability to effectively advance development and operation of these assets,” it said.
Eldorado, which employs more than 2,000 people in Greece, said the “suspension and termination of contractors and employees” would be carried out in line with Greek law.
Asked to comment on Eldorado’s decision, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, who is also head of Independent Greeks (ANEL) coalition partners, told Skai TV: “I don’t think it’s pleasant that an investment is leaving our country, but investments carried out here must be in line with national legislation, [with] European law.”