An amended Investment Agreement between Eldorado Gold’ s subsidiary, Hellas Gold and the government of Greece puts an end to years of permit delays and to protests of environmental groups that tried to prohibit the operation of the Skouries gold mine.

The amended Agreement provides a new legal and financial framework to allow for the advancement of Eldorado’s investment in Skouries, Olympias and Stratoni/Mavres Petres mines and facilities in northern Greece (the “Kassandra Mines”).

Skouries has reserves of 3.8 million ounces of gold and 1.7 billion pounds of copper. The constuction of the mine started in 2013, but was halted in 2017, due to environmental permit delays. Since then the mine has been into care and maintenance.

Skouries processing plan

The amended Investment Agreement envisages :

  • Investor protection mechanisms
  • A permitting framework allowing for a clear path to production and stable operations;
  • Increased fiscal revenues for the Greek state, including a 10% increase in royalty rates for all contained metals;
  • The creation of approximately 3,000 jobs and an $80 million commitment to community projects over the life of the mines;
  • Reduced environmental footprint through the use of best-available techniques (BAT) at the EU level, as well as global best practices, such as dry-stack tailings, improved water management systems and other design and monitoring improvements.

The Canadian miner Eldorado Gold said that the new Investment Plan allows for:

  • Completion of construction at Skouries and transition of the project into production;
  • Expansion of Olympias to 650,000 tonnes per annum;
  • Upgrades to the port facilities at Stratoni to allow for bulk shipment of concentrates;
  • Further investment in exploration at Mavres Petres-Stratoni; and
  • Continued study of on-site gold processing methods.

The amendment of the deal was signed by the Minister of Environment and Energy, Kostas Skrekas, the Minister of Finance, Christos Staikouras and Proythos Eldorado Gold Advisor, George Burns and Eldorado Gold Vice President and General Manager, Christos Balaskas. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Development and Investment, Adonis Georgiadis, the Secretary General of Energy and Mineral Resources, Alexandra Sdoukou, the Ambassadors of Canada and the United States to Greece, Mark Allen and Geoffrey Pyatt.

The Greek governement says that the new Agreement will provide best possible envrinomental protection, putting in place a 24-hour environmental monitoring system, seven days a week, with 400 checkpoints around the mining facilities.

“It is a historic day for Greece” Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said. “The agreement benefits the Greek people, restores investment confidence and proves that investors who respect Greek law, European law, the environment and the needs of society, are welcome in Greece.”

The Agreement will be formally submitted to the Greek Parliament for ratification, with a vote expected to take place in an upcoming parliamentary session.

“We now have a modernized investment agreement that will provide a stable, commercial path for Eldorado in Greece, as well as a strong precedent for future investment in the country once ratified by the Greek Parliament” George Burns, President and CEO of Eldorado Gold said. “Together, we are building a positive legacy for generations to come as we continue to commit to operating responsibly and with care for local communities and the environment.”

Skouries is expected to operate for approximately 23 years based on current reserves, initially as an open pit and underground mine, followed by underground mining only.