UPDATE 1-Greece aims to halt gold mine, cancel development of former airport

Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:44am EST
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* Greece will take all steps to halt Skouries mine- minister

* Says old Athens airport sale "scandalous" (Adds more detail)

ATHENS Feb 10 (Reuters) - Greece's new government will take steps to halt a Canadian-run gold mine project and aims to cancel a development scheme at Athens' former airport, pressing ahead with plans to roll back the country's privatisation programme.

The government is dominated by the left-wing Syriza party, which has for years opposed the Skouries gold mine in northern Greece, operated by Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold Corp.

It argues that the project, among the biggest foreign investments in the country, is harming the environment.

"We are against the gold investment in Skouries and we will use all possible legal means to back our position," Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told lawmakers on Tuesday, reinforcing signals that the government will stick to anti-privatisation pledges made during campaigning for last month's vote.

Lafazanis, who represents Syriza's more radical wing, said the government would also look to annul development plans for the capital's former airport at Hellenikon.

"The plans for developing Hellenikon are extremely destructive to the environment," Lafazanis said. "We will review this scandalous purchase with the aim to cancel it."

Greece agreed last year to sell the Hellenikon site to Greek developer Lamda, backed by China's Fosun and an Abu Dhabi-based firm, for 915 mln euro, pending parliamentary approval.   Continued...