Eldorado Gold will face Greek officials in an arbitration court later this month as the country’s government sees the move as the preferred way to settle its differences with the Canadian miner.
The country’s Energy Minister George Stathakis met representatives from Eldorado’s local unit Hellas Gold in Athens on Wednesday to discuss the process and issues related to the miner’s projects in northern Greece.
According to the ministry’s statement, the process is scheduled to begin at the end of August, though the company noted it has yet to receive formal notice of the looming mediation.
“To be clear, we have not yet received formal notice of arbitration and permits applied” Eldorado’s President and chief executive George Burns said in a statement. “We continue to evaluate all capital spending and development timelines at our projects in Greece.”
The Vancouver-based company, which already operates Stratoni mine in the country’s north, has been trying to develop the Skouries and Olympias projects for years, but local opposition and an ongoing back-and-forth with authorities have delayed progress.
The biggest differences between the company and Greek authorities revolve around testing methods applied to comply with environmental regulations at Skouries, whose final permits are still pending. Last week the company said production is now targeted for 2020, adding it had reviewed the project’s capital spending.
The government has been accused by opposition parties of using environmental protection clauses as an excuse to stop the investment, which has created thousands of local jobs in an area where unemployment is in its highest levels.
Licensing for the company’s Olympias project is in the final stage and Eldorado had said it expects to begin production at the gold, silver, zinc and lead mine before year-end.