Eldorado Gold to stop investments in Greece

Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold says it is suspending work at a site in northern Greece and laying off 600 workers following protests by local residents and a spat with the country’s left wing government.

The Vancouver, Canada-based company said Tuesday that it was suspending operations at a gold mine at Skouries, one of four major Greek sites where the company is involved.

Eldorado Gold CEO Paul Wright said 500 more jobs were also likely to be cut later in the year.

Wright accused the government of using the mining project as a “political toy” but insisted the company had no plans to pull out of Greece.

Elected a year ago, the leftwing government has expressed support for resident protest groups near Skouries who oppose the project on environmental grounds.

Wright said the company might suspend works in the Olympias site in Chalkidiki if the license is not approved within three months. Eldorado Gold has also frozen the projects in Perama Hill and Sapes in Thrace. They are also considering freezing the expansion of the mine at Stratoni.

The company CEO gave a press conference where he said that, “Since 2012 we created 2,000 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs and invested more than 700 million euros for development projects in Skouries and Olympias. We have paid over 700 million euros in taxes for Skouries and Olympias.”

“We invest in many countries but in Greece, our investment became politicized, it turned into a political game,” Wright said. “Greek finance ministers invite foreign investors to come to Greece. We are an example for foreign investors. We need to be partners with the government and have good cooperation to achieve the investment for our own benefit and for the economy.” He also added that the company has asked to meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras but he has not yet responded.

Wright gave detailed figures of what the project in Chalkidiki would mean to the Greek economy:

1 billion euros in social security contributions
1.5 billion euros in salaries
100 million euros in associations and local organizations
150 million euros in environmental improvements
75 million in infrastructure projects in the region
2.5 billion euros in payments to local suppliers of goods and services

This is the first and perhaps the largest private investment of foreign capital in our country, totaling 1.2 billion euros, say financial analysts.

“We operate in good faith and Hellas Gold has complied with all contractual obligations, however, due to unfavorable conditions it is prudent to reduce capital investment in Greece at the time,” said a company statement addressed to the Athens Stock Exchange.

The Canadian company attributes the decision to stop the investment to the policies of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. Wright described the attitude of the Greek government as “openly confrontational” and argues that its subsidiary Hellas Gold is “unable at this stage to complete its investment plans in Chalkidiki because of acts and omissions of the ministry and other public services, relating to the timely issuance of routine licenses and permits which is a legal and contractual obligation of the Greek government.”

Wright clarified that the investment has great prospects and Eldorado Gold is willing to continue the investment. However, he said, the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy creates significant risks and obstacles that leave no other choice but to reduce activities and staff.

“We hope to resume our activities and investment plans in Greece if we get the necessary permits on time and there is a real working relationship in the context of contractual obligations between Hellas Gold and the Greek government,” he noted. “We would like to create more jobs but the policy of the environment ministry made that impossible.”

In Skouries 600 workers will lose their jobs. This will be done gradually, as the company will maintain the workers who are essential for the basic functions for a period of 3-4 months, which has set a timeframe for the company to get license approval from the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

In Olympias 500 workers are at risk of losing their jobs. In this case the project continues and is awaiting approvals that will determine whether or not the investment will continue.

Wright will meet with New Democracy president Kyriakos Mitsotakis, PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata, Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis, and Centrists Union president Vassilis Leventis to discuss the situation.

The government does not succumb to blackmail, says Environment Min Skourletis
The government does not succumb to blackmail, Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis on Tuesday said in statements to Praktorio 104.9 FM following “Eldorado Gold” announcement that it partly suspends its construction works at Skouries.

Skourletis expressed his disappointment over the fact that CEO of the Canadian company, Paul Wright, decided to cancel their scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Skourletis sternly criticized those who accuse the government that 2,000 people will lose their jobs after the retirement of Eldorado from Northern Halkidiki and cleared out that the decision will affect around 830 workers.

source: Greekreporter.com, Philip Chrysopoulos – Jan 12, 2016

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THE LOSSES OF ELDORADO GOLD & THE CONSEQUENCES ON THE GREEK MARKET

The involvement of the company Hellas Gold – subsidiary of EL Dorado Gold – in the gold mine project in Skouries Chalkidiki, Greece, resulted in not one, but two big losers. So far, all the attention has focused on stock losses recorded by the Canadian group of El Dorado Gold, as the share which it is trading in the market of Toronto (and in Wall Street) has lost 26.5% of its value since the beginning of the year. The plunge of the stock created a domino effect as it took its toll on the financial figures of the Greek group of Ellaktor, participator of Hellas Gold, where the business interests of Bobolas famiy are expressed. Indeed, the losses exhibited in the first quarter of this year by Ellaktor (12.3 million Euros) are almost entirely due to the decline of the El Dorado Gold stock. This is because the Greek group owns 1.1% of the Canadian company, while at the same time it also owns 5% of Hellas Gold that operates in Skouries. It is significant that at the end of 2004, the participation of Ellaktor in El Dorado Gold was valued at 77.342 million Euros. In the end, however, of last March, the value of this shareholding was forfeited to 64.97 million Euros, thus creating a financial hole of 12.372 million Euros in the financial data of Ellaktor for the first quarter of the year. It is evident, however, that the adventure for the Bobolas group does not end here, as the share of El Dorado is continuing its descent thus increasing the negative impact on the accounts of Ellaktor. This is because at this moment the participation value has gone down to 57.4 million Euros. That is, the Bobolas group has lost 7.6 million Euros more. The downfall for the stock market course of El Dorado came after the intervention of the Minister of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Mr. Lafazanis and the new government policy which was against the project of gold mining. At the beginning of this year, the stock of El Dorado was at 7.8 Canadian Dollars, while now it is at 5.20. At the same time, the market value of the Canadian company has decreased by 2 billion Euros.

DEAL NEWS, 19/06/2015

 

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THE SOCIAL POLICY OF HELLAS GOLD S.A.

The Corporate Social Responsibility of Hellas Gold, the company that is involved in the investment of Kassandra Mines in Chalkidiki, in North Greece, is not a vision, but a realistic implementation of its commitments towards all social partners with absolute consistency.  It is the social, environmental and economic responsibility in the content of the development of Aristotle Municipality, where Hellas Gold is being hosted, as well as of the Northeast of Chalkidiki in general.

Employment, strengthening of local economy and of parallel activities, the infrastructure and the activities related to the development and culture are just some of the areas through which social responsibility is being expressed. Today, over 2,000 people who originate, and live in the area and work in the Cassandra Mines, while new jobs are being opened while opening new jobs through the support of industries related to mining activity and benefit from boosting liquidity in the local economy, the market and trade.

The parallel investments in this environment are indicative for the relationship of mutual respect that is being built between them and the citizens. With fully compatible with the environment mining methods and mineral processing, innovative technology, updated facilities and mining, reforestation and landscape restoration program.

Hellas Gold is probably the only Greek private company that collaborates with related schools and educational institution. Through this long-term cooperation, but also though the possibility of new engineering Internships and Summer Employment of students from the municipality of Aristotle area, academic research is promoted within the wider mining field and through familiarizing students with a demanding competitive work environment. Created thus a source of new, fully qualified Greek engineers. Meanwhile, the image of the area where the company operate is being improved with infrastructure, where is being invested up to 3 million Euros each year.

KATHIMERINI SUNDAY_SPECIAL EDITION, Kostas Georgatzis, 06.07.2015

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IN EURO EVEN WITH A MEMORANDUM, YES TO SKOURIES

An interesting poll is presented by the newspaper Kathimerini.

“Our country’s stay in Euro is a choice of the majority of the citizens in case of a dead end in the negotiations, even if this results in the implementation of a new Memorandum. This comes as a result of a survey conducted by the university research institute of Macedonia for television station SKAI. When asked what to choose between staying in Euro and returning to Drachma, 66.5% is in favor of staying in Euro, with27% choosing to return to Drachma. The percentage differs when staying in Euro is accompanied by the implementation of a new Memorandum, it remains, however, higher in preference of the citizens, with 55,5% against 35% that choose the return to Drachma regardless of the financial policy. For the mining of ores in Halkidiki, 50.5% considers that the investment should continue, against the 26.5% that says it should stop. Citizens appreciate in a percentage of 33% that the next 12 months the financial state of the country will improve, while 30% believes it will be worsen. 52% answers that its financial condition has deteriorated compared to a year ago, while 43.5% considers the condition neither better nor worse.”

KATHIMERINI, 05/05/2015

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