Canadian Eldorado Gold made a last minute U-turn and put on hold its previous decision to suspend its operations in northern Greece. Allegedly, its effort to increase pressure on Greece at highest possible level incl. the Canadian prime Minister, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund have failed.
A U-turn by Eldorado Gold on the deadline day it had threatened to suspend operations in its investment in Northern Greece. In a statement, the company said it “entered into a constructive dialogue” with Greece’s government, it has obtained several permits and therefore it would “temporary postpone” its suspension decision.
According to daily Kathimerini, “Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau had contacted prime minister Alexis Tsipras yesterday [Wed] about Skouries, while a French intervention by president Emmanuel Macron was expected as well.” The front page article was removed from the website.
In a short statement, the Prime Minister’s office dismissed the claim Tsipras had a phone conversation with Trudeau.
At the same time, daily Avgi.gr, which is close to SYRIZA, claims that Eldorado Gold contacted both the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund with the ‘obvious’ aim to obtain pending permission and increase pressure and have its investment in northern Greece as one of the “bailout prerequisites.”
Citing an internal document of the Greek diplomatic mission in Ottawa, dated Aug 21 2017, Avgi notes that ElGold had meetings with high ranking officials of Canada’s International Trade Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the Prime Ministry.
“The pressure was aiming to undermine the arbitration process as it is expected to last some 3 months and consequently delay the investment,” the daily writes.
Miners at Eldorado Gold who had come to Athens against to protest the upcoming loss of their work places cheered when they heard the decision.
Eldorado Gold statement
Eldorado Gold Corporation (“Eldorado”, “the Company” or “we”) today announced that it has entered into constructive dialogue with Greece’s Ministry of Energy and Environment (“MoE”) in respect to the development of the Company’s subsidiary, Hellas Gold S.A.’s, Kassandra Mine assets in Halkidiki, Northern Greece. The Kassandra assets, which include the Skouries and Olympias projects and the Stratoni mine, were permitted under one single Environment Impact Study (“EIS”) approved in 2011 by the Greek State.
George Burns, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eldorado, commented: “We are very pleased with the constructive dialogue that is underway with the Ministry of Energy and Environment. Furthermore, last week the Ministry issued a number of long overdue routine permits for our Olympias project. As a result of these developments we have decided to temporarily postpone our decision to place our assets in Halkidiki on care and maintenance.”
Mr. Burns concluded: “We preserve the right to place our assets on care and maintenance and to take prompt legal action to protect the Company and its assets in Greece should our dialogue with the Ministry of Energy and Environment prove unsuccessful. At the same time, we remain confident that the arbitration process initiated last week by the Greek government will be concluded in a timely and efficient manner, for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Eldorado Gold statement via prnewswire.com
PS I assume, if the arbitration decision is not to the likening of ElGold, the company will threaten again to leave – as it did several times in the past in order to increase pressure on the Greek government – any Greek government, whether left or right.