December 19, 2011
A Canadian gold producer has announced plans to invest €1.3bn to develop two sites in northern Greece in a test of whether the debt-stricken country can overcome a historic reluctance to allow foreign-backed mining projects.
Eldorado Gold gave details of the projects on Monday, one day after agreeing to acquire European Goldfields, the current concession-holder for the Olympias and Skouries mines in the Halkidiki region, which has been carrying out preparatory work at both sites.
The two mines would produce about 350,000 ounces of gold annually when they enter full production in 2015, making Greece one of Europe’s largest producers.
“This is an opportunity that will show whether an international mining company with high-profile institutional shareholders is able to work in Greece,” Paul Wright, Eldorado’s president and chief executive, said in an interview with the Financial Times.
The Eldorado investment, if fully implemented, would be the largest by a foreign company in more than a decade, according to analysts.