Progress considered likely in deal to save Stratoniki mine Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas this afternoon is due to meet with representatives of the companies that are considering participating in the investment scheme hoped to salvage the Stratoniki basic metals mine in Halkidiki, Macedonia, from closing. Miners are still staging sit-ins in the mine «until the scheme is signed and there are specific commitments for our labor issues.» Canada’s Kinross Corporation, which owns the mine, confirmed in a letter to Pachtas late last month its intention to withdraw but said it would contribute $10 million to the new scheme and, according to sources, that it wished to retain the option of returning if operations included gold mining. It is now considered likely that Kinross and the other participants, which include metal mining company Larko, Greek construction companies and local government organizations, will sign a memorandum setting the terms and procedures of transfer. PPC to be partly allowed to increase capacity until 2007 Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos has tabled an amendment enabling the Public Power Corporation (PPC), which produces about 95 percent of the country’s electricity, to increase its total capacity by up to 1,600 megawatts by upgrading old plants. The measure appears to be a partial answer to recent protests by unionists against PPC’s exclusion from participating in tenders for new plants until 2007. After that year, PPC will be allowed to increase capacity by no more than 50 percent of the country’s annual increments. Vodafone-HFD The four «Highspeed» and four «Flyingcat» vessels of Hellas Flying Dolphins (HFD) will carry the colors and logo of mobile operator Vodafone-Panafon for the next three years, according to an agreement announced yesterday. The deal also provides for Vodadone products and services to be sold on board, for SMS competitions with rewards of free tickets, and information and booking facilities for HFD travelers on Vodafone connections. Vodafone officials said the firm intends to install equipment on HFD vessels with a view to ensuring that travelers «do not lose even one second when using their mobiles.» The sum involved in the deal was not disclosed but sources said it amounts to 5 million euros. In a similar deal, Greece’s third mobile operator, Telestet, paid ferry operator NEL 3 million euros. Gov’t business Greece needs to work toward «a new mentality in the relationship between business and government,» to be expressed in more flexible forms of employment, work training programs in modern thematic fields and a revamped labor inspection service that would work preventively rather than on policing, the chairman of the Federation of Northern Greece Industries, Dimitris Symeonidis, said in Kavala. Tax inspections Tax inspectors will maintain a brisk work pace throughout the summer of big companies that did not avail themselves of the opportunity for a «blanket» settlement of uninspected past fiscal years, said Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis, who announced that in the first half of the year inspections yielded 80.4 percent more taxes than in the same period last year.