One of Greece's largest foreign investors, Eldorado Gold of Canada, has said it is going to scrap further investments at its mines in the country. It complained about government delays in issuing permits and licenses.
Eldorado, which runs Greek subsidiary Hellas Gold, operates mines in northern Greece that have faced vehement opposition from parts of local communities on environmental grounds, with some authorities saying local forests would be decimated and groundwater could be contaminated.
Eldorado Gold has countered such arguments, emphasizing it is carrying out environmental cleanup work even of its predecessors and rejects accusations of pollution.
The Canadian firm said it would continue maintenance and environmental safeguards, but would make no further investment in three mines in the Halkidiki area and two projects in the province of Thrace.
Golden opportunity missed?
"Despite repeated attempts to engage constructively with the Greek government, delays continue in issuing routine permits and licenses," the company noted.
"These permitting delays have negatively impacted Eldorado's project schedules and costs, ultimately hindering its ability to effectively advance development and operation of these assets."
The company, which employs more than 2,000 people in Greece, added that "the suspension and termination of contractors and employees" would be done in line with Greek law.
Greece has been struggling to emerge from a deep financial crisis that has wiped out more than a quarter of its economy and left the nation reliant on three international bailouts. Analysts have frequently stressed that attracting foreign investment should be high on the agenda of the government, should it want the country to stand on its own feet again.
hg/jd (AP, AFP)