Eldorado Gold, the Canadian mining company, announced on Thursday that the exploitation of the gold and copper deposits at the Skouries mine in Halkidiki, Greece can now go forward as the board approved the investment decision and a facility of 680 million euros.
The National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank are the lead arrangers of the facility, which Eldorado Gold says will provide 80% of the expected future funding required to complete the project, which is approximately half-built.
According to the feasibility study, the total life of the mine will be approximately 20 years, during which it will have an average annual production of 140,000 ounces of gold and 67 million pounds of copper.
Production, according to what was made known on Thursday, is expected to begin in the second half of 2025.
The resumption of the project in Skouries and its inclusion in the production phase is part of the company’s new investment plan that has been agreed and amounts to 3.1 bn euros ($3.29 bn).
“Skouries represents the next phase of growth at Eldorado, generating significant value for all of our stakeholders with robust project economics and providing many benefits to the local communities and economy in Greece,” said chairperson Steve Reid.
“Our focus now shifts to project execution, with first production expected in the second half of 2025, followed by a ramp-up as we optimize facilities,” George Burns, President and CEO of Eldorado Gold said.
“Once in production, Skouries will have a significant impact on Eldorado’s total gold production and cash cost profile and will diversify our business through revenue from copper,” he added.
El Dorado’s Skouries project was stalled in Greece until 2019
The majority of the local population has opposed the project, citing tremendous environmental impact, resulting in the complete desecration of tourism and agriculture in the area.
The local population demonstrated over the years, even shutting down national roads.
In 2017, Eldorado Gold froze investments in its Skouries gold mine, taking a tough stand in its long-standing battle with the then-SYRIZA government.
The company moved the Skouries project back into “care and maintenance” and said it would re-assess its investment in the project upon approval and receipt of required permits.
The conservative government that took office in 2019 wanted the stalled investment to be revived.
PM Mitsotakis has said the investment will be completed, but “without any short-cuts” in terms of environmental protection, to assuage the worries of his rivals and critics.