ECONOMY

European Goldfields seeking loans to fund Balkan expansion

European Goldfields Ltd, the owner of the Stratoni mine in Greece, is seeking about $200 million in bank loans to start production at mines in southeastern Europe within three years. European Goldfields is in talks with banks and expects to secure the funds to start new mines and expand existing projects, mining gold, silver, lead and zinc in Greece and Romania, Chief Executive Officer David Reading said yesterday in an interview from the company’s headquarters in London. The company’s headquarters are in Whitehorse, Canada. European Goldfields is seeking to increase output as demand for metals rises in developing economies, such as China and India. Banks may consider the European ventures safer than sites in less stable countries where governments are seeking a greater share of sales, Reading said. Banks keen «There’s no shortage of opportunities to finance European projects,» Reading said. «The Greek banks are keen. The European banks are keen. Romania and Greece are EU countries, and Turkey has a mining code that the Canadians helped put together.» Barrick Gold Corporation Chairman Peter Munk has said governments looking for larger stakes in mining projects have constrained global metal supplies. European Goldfields shares have fallen 8.9 percent this year through yesterday, giving the company a market value of C$894.3 million ($908.8 million). The company last month formed a joint venture to search for gold and copper in Turkey and plans to have the projects in Greece and Romania producing an annual 400,000 ounces of gold, 3 million ounces of silver, 50,000 metric tons of zinc and 40,000 tons of lead within three years, Reading said.