Greek govt to meet Eldorado over gold mine closure on Monday

Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:39am EDT
 
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ATHENS, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Greece's newly appointed government will meet Canada's Eldorado Gold next week to discuss the closure of its Greek gold mine, Energy Minister Panos Skourletis said on Friday.

Greece last month revoked Eldorado's permit to develop a mine in the northern region of Halkidiki, seen as one of the top foreign investments in the country, saying the company had violated its contractual terms.

Eldorado has suspended its operations at the mine and put most of its 1,300 workers on temporary redundancy.

Skourletis, who was reappointed energy minister in the new Greek government formed after Sunday's election, will meet Eldorado Gold officials next week, he told state television ERT.

"There will be a meeting on Monday at the ministry," he said. "It will be the first time I meet the company. We will ask them why they are not doing what is specified (in the agreement)."

Greece has said Eldorado should have conducted tests of the so called flash-melting method to ensure its mining activities will not harm the environment at the site. The company has done such tests in Finland.

"When there is a contract signed with the Greek state, this should be respected. This is not because we want to cause investors trouble but because we want to protect the environment," Skourletis said.

Eldorado and its workers have appealed against the government's decision and a Greek court is expected to hear the case on Oct. 2.

In addition, Skourletis said the company had violated some other environment guidelines at the site and that he was awaiting the findings of environmental inspectors before next Friday to get the full picture. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; writing by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by David Clarke)