ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece said on Wednesday it would grant Canada’s Eldorado Gold outstanding permits this week to enable it to fully operate one of its three Greek projects, days after the miner threatened to suspend a major investment in the country.
Eldorado’s investment in northern Greece is among the biggest since its debt crisis began seven years ago and has long been viewed as a litmus test of Greece’s resolve to attract foreign capital. But differences have dragged on for years, especially over compliance with environmental regulations.
Eldorado Gold said on Monday it would halt new investment into its Olympias and Skouries projects and the Stratoni mine from Sept 22 due to permit delays and lack of clarity on an upcoming arbitration process.
The announcement sparked an angry protest outside the energy ministry on Wednesday by dozens of Eldorado Gold workers worried about potential job losses.
In an effort to diffuse tension, Greek Energy Minister George Stathakis said licensing for the Olympias project would be concluded ”in the coming days, today and tomorrow. “Three permits will be issued as we announced in August, allowing Olympias to be fully operational,” he said.
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