Eldorado Gold announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary has entered into an amended investment agreement with the Hellenic Republic to govern the further development, construction and operation of the Skouries, Olympias and Stratoni/Mavres Petres mines.
This is in addition to facilities in northern Greece.
The company said that the agreement is mutually beneficial to Eldorado and the Hellenic Republic.
For Eldorado Gold, it provides investor protection mechanisms including a permitting framework similar to other large-scale foreign investment agreements in Greece.
For the Hellenic Republic, it provides enhanced fiscal revenues, environmental benefits, and community development opportunities.
Eldorado added that the agreement includes an optimized investment plan which will allow, among other projects, the completion of construction at Skouries and transition of the project into production, and expansion of Olympias to 650,000 tonnes per annum.
The agreement will be formally submitted to the Greek Parliament for ratification, with a vote expected to take place in an upcoming parliamentary session.
The agreement takes effect once published in the Greek Government Gazette, which follows parliamentary ratification.
“Today is a major milestone, marking a new beginning for the Kassandra Mines and for Eldorado Gold in Greece,” said President and CEO George Burns.
“This agreement is the culmination of dedicated, determined efforts and reflects a true desire from both parties to deliver a commercial framework that can realize the potential of the Kassandra Mines for all stakeholders," he said.
"Both Olympias and Skouries have the potential to be tier-one assets that, when combined with the rest of our portfolio, will be transformational for Eldorado,” added Burns.
Ironing out issues old issues
The company’s projects in northern Greece have repeatedly stalled over licensing hold ups and environmental concerns. In 2017, the miner halted all operations in the country due to government delays in issuing permits for Skouries and Olympias.
While Eldorado resumed activities shortly after, progress at its projects has also been hindered by community opposition revolving around the possible environmental impacts of gold mining in a densely forested area.
The company has submitted revised proposals since, focusing on the use of best-available techniques (BAT) at the European Union level, as well as global best practices, such as dry-stack tailings.
The country’s government has responded by granting the miner some key permits.
Eldorado Gold is a metals producer with mining, development and exploration operations in Turkey, Canada, Greece, Romania, and Brazil.