Athens.- Greece is not ready to grant London-listed European Goldfields a permit to run two goldmines in the country, its environment minister said on Thursday, citing opposition by local activists.
European Goldfields’ unit in Greece, Hellas Gold, currently operates a lead and zinc mine in the northern Greek region of Halkidiki. It has submitted an environmental impact study (EIS) to develop goldfields in the area, a project seen as a catalyst for its future growth.
The official public consultation period for the permit ended last year. A Greek environment ministry official said in October that a permit would be granted by early February.
“This is a polarising issue,” Environment Minister Tina Birbili told reporters during a briefing on Thursday. “There must definitely be more consultation.”
In a statement later on Thursday, European Goldfields said it “had not been officially notified by the Greek authorities that there is any issue regarding the permitting process or the timing of such”.
European Goldfields said it had not been asked to provide any additional information regarding groundwater or groundwater pollution.
The company noted that it had received confirmation from a Special Technical Committee in the ministry that the final EIS conformed with all technical requirements under Greek and EU environmental legislation.