Hellas Gold plans to begin operation of its mines in Olympiada Chalkidiki in April, the company’s officials told reporters, adding that the official opening will be in June at a ceremony which will include invitees Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew and the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
Hellas Gold executives stressed that only a few formal licenses remain in order to start the unit. With the opening of the Olympiada mines, gold production will resume in the country after 22 years, and together the mines Olympiada and Skouries “can make Greece one of the largest gold producing countries in the European Union.”
Between 2017 and 2022 gold production in Olympiada is estimated to be 72,000 ounces of gold per year, plus 55,000 ounces of production of other metals. After 2022 production is expected to increase to 170,000 ounces annually. Production in Skouries is expected to begin in 2019 and by 2027 it is expected to produce a total of 1.4 million ounces of gold and 620 million tons of copper.
Referring to the long-standing controversy associated with the licensing of the metallurgical flash smelting plant, they stressed that they seek a resolution of the dispute with technical dialogue rather than litigation. As is known, the technical study for the unit has been rejected by the Environment and Energy Ministry. The company has appealed for that matter to the Council of State.
The company executives estimate that this year the activity of Hellas Gold will create 1,000 new jobs in companies undertaking work as subcontractors. They also said that investments of 150 million U.S. dollars were planned for this year and the company has so far invested a total of 750 million dollars in the project.