Panel ruling paves way for Skouries licenses

Panel ruling paves way for Skouries licenses

Eldorado Gold will be planning its next moves after its vindication on Wednesday by an arbitration panel in its dispute with the Greek state over the mining unit at Madem Lakkos in the Halkidiki region of northern Greece. 

The Canadian company and its Greek subsidiary Hellas Gold, which controls the Halkidiki mines, are expected to ask for a meeting with Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis immediately after Greek Easter to discuss the issuing of licenses for the Skouries mines. 

“We believe this decision provides a foundation to allow us to advance dialogue with the Greek government in order to define a mutually agreeable and clear path forward for our Kassandra investments,” Eldorado chief executive George Burns said in a statement. 

“We look to the Greek state to fulfill its obligations under the transfer contract including issuing the outstanding permits for the Skouries project.

The full, efficient and responsible development of the Kassandra assets will benefit the Greek state and its citizens, the local communities, our shareholders and our teams of Greek employees,” he added.

Stathakis had frozen the licensing procedure while the arbitration over the unit at Madem Lakkos was ongoing. 

The minister had pledged at the time that he would respect the arbitration’s panel’s decision. 

In a statement, the ministry said it respects the panel’s ruling but set three criteria that must be fulfilled to make sure that the mine will “produce pure gold.” 

It also said that the limitations of European legislation must be taken into consideration; that specific commitments will be made which are in the public interest, and that there must be the widest possible social consensus. 

The ministry’s call for social consensus was seen as a nod to the dissenters within ruling SYRIZA. 

The arbitration between the Canadian company and the state was initiated last year by the Greek government, which said that Eldorado’s 2014 technical report on the Madem Lakkos metallurgy plant violated the 2003 transfer contract it signed with the Greek state.

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