Greece will decide on whether to grant permits to Canada’s Eldorado Gold for its Olympiada mine project in northern Greece by the end of this month, its energy minister said on Tuesday, agreeing to a deadline requested by the company.
The Vancouver-based miner has been in a dispute with the government over plans to develop gold mines in a forested area of northern Greece, with the government voicing environmental concerns over the project.
The project is the biggest foreign investment in heavily indebted Greece and the leftist government’s handling of the case is seen as a test of its approach to foreign investors.
Tensions came to a head in January, when Eldorado said Greece had been delaying the necessary permits and announced it would halt construction of its Skouries project in northern Greece. It warned it would do the same at its Olympiada mine if it did not secure necessary permits by the end of March.
“The company has submitted (for approval) specific studies,” Energy Minister Panos Skourletis told Greek state television ERT. “They will be reviewed by the end of March.”
Eldorado has invested about $700 million to develop the Skouries and Olympias mines since 2012 and plans to invest another $1 billion in the projects.