Hellas Gold staff call two-day strike as deadline looms


The Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold and the government appeared to remain at loggerheads Wednesday over mines in northern Greece whose operation Eldorado has threatened to suspend unless Greek authorities issue a series of pending licenses.

Adding to the government’s woes, employees of Hellas Gold, the firm’s Greek subsidiary, are to launch a 48-hour strike Thursday morning. Protesting workers last night were boarding buses to the capital where they are to stage a demonstration outside the Environment Ministry.

Last week Eldorado Gold threatened to suspend its operations in Greece from September 22 unless the government provides it with a series of licenses. The government responded to that warning by issuing several permits, chiefly for a plant in Olympiada, Halkidiki. But Eldorado Gold also wants outstanding permits for a plant at nearby Skouries which authorities have delayed providing, citing concerns over the environmental impact of the processing techniques proposed by the firm.

The government last week launched arbitration proceedings to settle its disputes with the company. Meanwhile the firm is planning to appeal to the Council of State, the latest in a string of legal suits, sources said.

Government officials have said licenses for Skouries cannot be granted until the completion of the arbitration, which could take up to six months.