UPDATE 1-Eldorado Gold wins appeal over Greek mining ban

Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:06pm EST
 
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ATHENS Jan 20 (Reuters) - Greece's top administrative court has annulled the government's decision last year to revoke Eldorado Gold's mining licence, according to court documents published on Wednesday.

The Canadian mining company had appealed to Greece's top court to overturn the ban on its plans to develop gold mines in a forested area of northern Greece, in a case widely seen as a test of the leftist government's approach to foreign investment.

The majority of the court's judges ruled in favour of Eldorado in November, but a final ruling was pending.

Eldorado has put in about $700 million since 2012 and planned to invest another $1 billion to develop two mines at Skouries and Olympias sites in Halkidiki.

But Greece's government revoked its permit in August, saying the tests for a so-called flash-melting method the company planned to use to ensure there would be no environmental damage did not take place on the spot, but rather outside Greece.

Tensions between the two sides came to a head last week, when Eldorado said Greece had been delaying the necessary permits and announced it would suspend construction at the Skouries project, putting more than 600 jobs at risk.

It warned it would do the same at its Olympias mine, risking another 500 jobs in northern Greece, if it didn't secure necessary permits by the end of March.

Greece's energy minister has asked the firm to reverse its decision and safeguard jobs as a condition for the two parties to continue talks. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Mark Potter)