(Athens) The Canadian and US embassies said on Friday that the conservative Greek government has approved a controversial gold mine project that has been banned for years due to environmental concerns.
In a joint statement, the two embassies “welcomed the signing of (the agreement) today between Hellas Gold (a 100% subsidiary of Eldorado Gold, a Canada-based company) and the Greek government.”
At 2:22 PM, Eldorado stock was up 10.44% ($ 1.54) to $ 16.29 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
This agreement, the embassies write, will “bring in investments of approximately 1.7 billion euros (2.6 billion Canadian dollars) from North America over 23 years” and create up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs to develop the Cassandra mines in the northeast of Chalkidiki.
They added that Eldorado Gold has also committed to a € 70 million social development program for local communities for the duration of its investment.
The Skouries Mountains gold mine project sparked protests for years and sparked particularly violent clashes in 2013, when masked militants threw Molotov cocktails at the site, wounding a guard and damaging machinery.
In 2015, the left-wing Greek government banned work in the gold mine, citing alleged contract violation.
Upon coming to power in 2019, the conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis government promised to unlock the project provided there are strict environmental safeguards in place.
A note from the Greek Ministry of Energy and Environment believes that the revised agreement “increases the benefits for the national economy, the local community and the environment.”
Eldorado Gold said the deal is mutually beneficial, saying it provides a framework for other large-scale foreign investment projects in Greece.
“For Greece, it brings new revenues, environmental benefits and local development opportunities,” the Canadian company said in a statement.