Deputy minister says TVX may not close its metals mine after all

The Development Ministry said yesterday it had found a temporary solution which could avoid the suspension of operations at the Greek division of Canada’s TVX Gold Inc. We have found a temporary solution to bypass this dead end, Deputy Development Minister Alekos Kalafatis told Reuters after meetings with the company, its employees and mining inspectors who had blocked the expansion of drilling at the company’s base metal mine at Stratoni, in the prefecture of Halkidiki, northern Greece. Until the final drilling permit for (the area) under the village of Stratoni is approved, we have asked the company to submit an additional study so that we can examine it quickly and they can restart their drilling work from their present boundary, Kalafatis said. He added that a temporary drilling permit could be issued as early as next week. A TVX Hellas spokesman told Kathimerini’s English Edition last night that the two sides were not any closer to an agreement than they were before and that the company was waiting for next week’s developments. TVX Hellas has said it would suspend its operations on December 11, a development which would result in 500 layoffs. The company represents one of the largest foreign investments in Greece in decades. Analysts were saying that this move would serve as an excuse for TVX Gold to pull out of its investment. The Canadian company is in dire financial straits; its share on the New York Stock Exchange has recently fallen to under $1 causing NYSE to threaten it with delisting. Turnover this year is projected at 7 billion drachmas and pretax profits at 1.29 billion drachmas. Funds raised from the IPO will be used to finance the company’s expansion program locally and abroad.

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