The Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold has announced that it will suspends a significant part of it construction and mining development operations in Greece, in response to its conflict with the Greek government in relation to licensing issues.

As such the construction operations in Skouries will be suspended, with the company warning that it will do the same for the mine in Olympiada, if it does not receive a license by the end of March. The company has also suspended construction work at Perama Hill and Sapes and is currently debating what to do with the Stratoni mine, which only has three more years of life ahead.

According to the company, it employs about 2,000 people in Greece and claims that it would prefer to crate more jobs and continue operations in Greece. The Ministry of Environment however has posed environment concerns and a number of objections, which have caused the licensing issues.

Local residents who oppose the controversial mining investment and company employees have clashed and staged protests. A company press conference is scheduled for 11am on Tuesday.

Skourletis: “The Greek government will not give in to blackmail”

The Minister of Environment and Energy Panagiotis Skourletis has responded that the Greek government will not give in to the blackmail of the multinational company and criticized the company’s CEO Paul Wright for postponing a meeting that had been planned for Tuesday. The Minister underlined that his actions aim to serve the protection of the environment and the interests of the Greek people.

Mr. Skourletis told the Praktorio 104.9 FM radio station that the company CEO was attempting to blackmail the Greek government by carrying out a press conference to “announce the company intentions and then come to chat with us”. Mr. Skourletis also dismissed the company’s claim of 2,000 jobs being at risk by noting that the company employs 830 to 850 people.

Furthermore, the Minister estimated that the company has probably decided to suspend its operation due to its financial problems and the fact that the price of gold has plummeted in the international markets.