New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Sunday, speaking from the northern prefecture of Halkidiki, promised that his center-right party, if elected to government in the July 7 snap ballot, will jump-start the long-delayed Hellas Gold mining concession at the Skouries site.
The Skouries gold mining concession, the most significant portion of the biggest industrial investment in Greece, has long been plagued by a multitude of legal challenges - all unsuccessful - vehement opposition by a portion of the local community, and, following the election of the leftist SYRIZA government January 2015, successive administrative obstacles and bureaucratic foot-dragging.
Mitsotakis said the investment will be completed, but "without any short-cuts" in terms of environmental protection.
The concession for the Skouries site, along with the nearby Cassandra mines, is held by a subsidiary of Vancouver-based multinational Eldorado Gold.
"Your municipality was split and divided in the past by certain quarters, who deliberately aimed to divide you, turning an investment, with many positives and whatever negatives, into a political symbol," Mitsotakis said from eastern part of Halkidiki.
The pro-reform and pro-market Mitsotakis pointed directly to the experience and know-how, as he said, of far more environment-sensitive counties, such as Canada, Australia and the Scandinavian states, who exploit their mineral wealth with advanced technology.