Greek government, Hellas Gold reach new agreement; statements

Hellas Gold on Friday announced it has reached an agreement with the Greek Environment and Energy ministry over a new updated contract for the company’s mines in Chalkidiki, northern Greece, after several months of negotiations.

In an announcement, Hellas Gold said the agreement was multiply beneficial for all parties. The agreement was signed by Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and Environment and Development Minister Costas Skrekas, the CEO of Eldorado Gold George Burns and other officials.

The amended agreement gives an end to Hellas Gold’s claims from the Greek state due to a several-year delay in licensing procedures by previous governments.

The new agreement envisages stable revenue of 2.0 billion euros for state coffers for the next 25 years, bringing forward of investments with 1.0 billion euros in the first five years, raising by 10 pct of mining duties, additional revenue of more than 200 million euros from mining rights (to reach 300 million), boosting the market with 3.5 billion euros in supplies and services.

The agreement will also create 1,400 new job positions, boosting construction activity in the region and creating an additional 900 jobs, extending the life of mines from 18 to more than 25 years, preserving employment for more than 25 years.

Hellas Gold also committed to fully restore the region during and after completion of the investment, significantly reduce its environmental footprint in Skouries and use new technology and an integrated waste management system.

The company said the agreement will complete the project in Skouries, raise production capacity in Olympiada to 650,000 tons anually from 400,000 currently, and upgrading and expanding port facilities in Stratonio, further investing in geological research in Mavres Petres-Stratonio.

“Friday is a landmark day, signalling a new beginning for Cassandra Mines and for Eldorado Gold in Greece,” George Burns said.

Ambassadors welcome agreement

Canadian and US Ambassadors to Greece Mark Allen and Geoffrey Pyatt welcomed the signing of the amended investment agreement between Hellas Gold SA and the Greek government on Friday, recognizing the mutual benefits to Greece and parent company El Dorado Gold.

Their joint statement is as follows (full statement):

“The Embassies of Canada and the United States in Athens welcome the signing today between Hellas Gold SA (wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian-based Eldorado Gold Corporation) and the Government of Greece of an agreement that will bring almost 1.7 billion euros in investment from North America over a period of 23 years to develop the Kassandra Mines in northeastern Halkidiki.

“These investments will meet the highest environmental standards, create up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in northern Greece and deliver increased revenues for the Greek economy. We especially welcome Eldorado Gold’s commitment to a significant social development program amounting to 70 million euros in the local communities over the life of the investment.

“We also recognize the dedicated efforts of the Government of Greece to make Greece an attractive destination for global investment and welcome the mutual benefits that today’s announcement will bring.”

Ministers’ statements

The three ministers who co-signed the investment agreement between Hellas Gold SA and the Greek government on Friday, spoke of its benefits to both the local communities and the environment, in statements on the day.

More jobs and a friendly environmental footprint by the use of new technologies are key benefits, said Energy & Environment Minister Kostas Skrekas, who spoke of “more than 3,000 jobs and 1.6 billion euros in investments”, and “an environmental monitoring system active 24 hrs, 7 days a week.”

“Amid unprecedented global conditions (…), Greece is implementing reforms in terms of economic efficiency and social reciprocity”, pointed out Finance Minister Christos Staikouras.

Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis called Friday’s signing “a historic day for Greece”, as it “restores a climate of investments confidence, and proves that investors who decide to pursue their vision in Greece respecting Greek and European laws, the environment and society’s needs are welcome.” Georgiadis also said that Hellas Gold and the Hellinikon were the two landmark investments signalling to foreign investors that Greece is truly changing its business climate.