ECONOMY

Green light ahead for TVX

One of Greece’s largest private foreign investment projects, the Stratoni mine in northern Greece which is owned by TVX Hellas, is set to go ahead following the decision yesterday by the government to grant the company a permit for the continuation of mining activities at the Mavres Petres mine. The government said yesterday that an independent study by six professors from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) had confirmed that the proposed mining method at the Mavres Petres mine is both safe and appropriate. It also proposed setting up a committee of experts, scientists, trade unions, TVX employees and village residents to monitor operations at the mine. TVX Gold, the Canadian parent of TVX Hellas, said the Greek government’s decision to let the mine continue its activities at Mavres Petres will enable production and employment to continue. Sean Harvey, president and chief executive officer, said TVX Gold «is pleased with the commitment shown by the Greek government and the local residents to TVX Hellas and its employees in the region.» The Canadian mining group acquired the Cassandra mine complex which includes the Olympias mine and mill, the Skouries gold-copper porphyry, the Madem Lakkos and Mavres Petres mines and a base-metal milling facility at Stratoni, in 1995. It claims to have invested $250 million in the project since then. Work at the mine, however, has been held up by bureaucratic delays and residents’ concern about the environmental impact of mining methods. Last December, TVX brought things to a head when it declared force majeure at its Stratoni base-metal mine and suspended all mining and milling activities. It warned of the repercussions for its 500 employees. The company is still waiting for a ruling by the Council of State regarding the validity of the permits issued by the government. The total value of trading on ASE in 2001 reached 43.2 billion euros, compared to 70.7 billion euros in Copenhagen, 203 billion euros in Helsinki, 608 billion euros in Madrid, 434 billion in Stockholm and 33.5 billion euros in Lisbon. Furthermore, ASE showed one of the slowest rates of circulation among European bourses, which indicates a strong liquidity problem. The turnover/capitalization ratio for 2001 was 0.39 percent, compared to 0.59 percent in Lisbon, 0.67 in Copenhagen, 1.76 percent in Madrid, 1.53 percent in Stockholm, 1.36 percent in the Euronext consortium, 1.17 in Milan and 1.12 percent in London.