SOFIA (SeeNews) – Bulgaria’s government has awarded an exploration permit to Skala Mini, a subsidiary of Canadian Euromax Resources Ltd, which will invest $10 million (8.4 million euros) to search for gold and copper in the southwestern part of the country, a government official said yesterday. «The government has decided to give them the permit and it is to be published in the State Gazette,» Georgi Ionchev, director of the government’s Investments and Concessions department, told SeeNews. The permit allows Skala Mini to search for gold and copper for three years in the Peroto area, which covers 6.59 square kilometers. The area is immediately to the north of the gold and copper mine of Dundee Precious Metals Inc in Chelopech. Skala Mini won a tender to explore for minerals in Bulgaria in cooperation with the US copper giant Phelps Dodge Exploration Corp in July 2005. Euromax said at the time that Balkan Metals and Minerals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Phelps Dodge, could earn a 75 percent interest in Skala Mini by spending up to $1 million in the first year and $10 million over the initial three-year term of the license. Bulgaria conducted an exploration program on the license area with 92,000 meters of diamond drilling, which identified Chelopech-style deposits within the Peroto area. The Chelopech mine, Europe’s largest producing gold mine, has been in operation since 1959 with a production of 13 million tons at a grade of 1.1 percent copper and 3.43 grams per ton of gold, recovering 144,000 tons of copper and 1.4 million ounces of gold. Dundee has said that the remaining resources are 25 million tons containing 3.2 million ounces of gold, 8 million ounces of silver and 374,000 tons of copper. Euromax operates gold projects in Rakitovo, Breznik, Popintsi and Trun in southwest Bulgaria.