Canadian company Eldorado Gold said on Thursday that it is freezing investment at the Skouries gold mine in northern Greece and has appealed to the Council of State, the country’s highest body of arbitration, to uphold its legal rights.
The break on the investment has fueled concern among some 2,500 workers over the future of their jobs.
In a joint statement on Thursday, unions representing the workers condemned the government over its stance and demanded a meeting with Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis.
“Even at the final moment, we are waiting for the government to meet the promise of growth it made to the people,” the statement said.
Eldorado said on Thursday that the Skouries project will be limited to care and maintenance after the Environment Ministry failed to grant the necessary routine permits, which has led to unjustifiable delays in the project – one of the biggest investments in Greece.
It said it was seeking the arbitration of the Council of State because of the government’s noncompliance with previous rulings by the same court.
Eldorado said it will reassess the investment only if it receives the required approvals and permits.
“Although we have made good progress on the Olympias mine, we require the necessary permits and government support prior to investing further in Skouries,” Eldorado CEO George Burns said in a statement, adding that “as a consequence we are now taking the necessary legal action to enforce the company’s rights while continuing efforts to resolve outstanding matters through ongoing dialogue.”