Serbia is an important source of rare minerals

Today, mining is an important factor in economic activity and growth in Serbia, and at the beginning of this year, this branch of industry contributed 2.6% to GDP in the first quarter and 2.3% in the second quarter, said the Minister of Mining and Energy, Dubravka Đedović. during the address at the conference “Mineral resources of Serbia, sustainable growth through responsible mining”, according to the Government’s website.

Also, as she added, mining records a higher growth rate than industrial production, because from January to July this year, compared to the same period in 2021, industrial production increased by 2.7%, while mining grew by more than 30%, which is the result of increased investments, especially in exploitation and processing in the copper mine.

According to her, 27,000 people were employed in the mining sector in 2021, of which 8,500 were employed in metal mines, with a tendency to increase that number.

As stated, “currently, geological research is carried out in Serbia on 178 exploration fields, of which 120 are fields of metallic raw materials, among others, copper, gold, lead, zinc, silver, two exploration fields of energy raw materials, and 56 fields where they are researching non-metallic raw materials”, Đedović specified.

Serbia is rich in mineral resources, primarily copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, borates and lithium, she stressed and added that in the era of modern technologies, mineral resources are “the basis of the development of modern society” and “a necessary prerequisite for the existence of modern civilization”.

Mining activity in the context of the country’s energy independence and further economic growth is not a matter of choice, but an inevitability. The state’s task is to, together with mining, use the wealth we have in a rational, responsible and sustainable way, respecting nature and taking care of the communities it has an impact on, the minister said, according to the official website of the Government, eKapija writes.

Armenia’s journey towards responsible mining

Mining raises many issues for communities. What minerals are being developed? Where are the mines? Who owns these mines? What kinds of ore are produced? In what form and to which countries are they exported? Armenia’s accession to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) helped bring the answer to these kinds of questions and more public and transparent, the World Bank said in an article entitled “Armenia’s Journey Towards Responsible Mining”.

As in many countries, mining can be a sensitive topic in Armenia, the article says. It notes that civil society follows mining developments closely to demand better protection of the environment.

The World Bank says that the Armenian government hoped to improve the management of natural resources by making it more transparent, accountable, and participatory. It grew interested in the EITI and, in 2015, announced its intention to join. “Within a year, Armenia met all the preconditions for joining the EITI, and its membership application was approved in 2017”, it says.

The WB says that the country’s legislation did not ensure full transparency and accountability from the sector. The National Assembly made legislative changes to require the publication of large amounts of financial information, such as tax payment data by companies as well as data on extraction and exports, charitable activities, and socio-economic support projects in communities — reporting this information annually became legally required. This information is reflected in the EITI annual national reports.

According to the article, in 2019, Armenia took on responsibilities beyond the scope of mandatory requirements, which ensured even greater transparency.

“Armenia made remarkable achievements in its implementation of the Standard. At the 2019 EITI Global Conference in Paris, Armenia received the EITI Chair’s Award for implementing the Standard in an innovative and resolute manner, as well as for effective multi-stakeholder governance”, the article says.

“I have personally followed the process with great interest. Armenia has achieved remarkable progress. Out of the 54 countries, Armenia is among the nine that have received the highest possible assessment, and it has only been three and a half years since Armenia began implementing the EITI; in that regard, its accomplishments are really commendable”, Mark Robinson – Director of the EITI International Secretariat, said.

For civil society representatives and journalists, the new requirement to disclose the beneficial owners of metal extracting companies was a unique opportunity, the WB said. In Armenia, it had often been quite difficult to obtain information regarding beneficial ownership, it added.

“Armenia`s success story is ongoing and there is still more that can be done.  Future reforms are going to be geared at mitigating environmental impact. The Government is continuing to develop a strategy for the sector by engaging all interested parties”, Armenpress writes.

Armenia’s environmental crimes committed in Azerbaijani lands are said to cause $285 billion in damages

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev vowed to start legal proceedings at international courts to demand compensation for the damage and ecological terror committed by Armenians in the once occupied Azerbaijani territories.

The announcement was made at a video meeting with the newly appointed special representative of the Azerbaijani president in the Zangilan district.

The president outlined deforestation, illegal exploitation of gold reserves, and contamination of rivers as one of the ultimate examples of the environmental terror conducted by Armenians.

“Fifty to sixty thousand hectares of forest have been completely destroyed. We observed this via satellite. A process of deliberate deforestation was underway, especially in Kalbajar, Lachin, Zangilan and Gubadli districts. This, in fact, is savagery and looting,” President Aliyev was quoted as saying by his official website.

According to him, the world’s second-largest sycamore forest in Zangilan suffered seriously from deliberate deforestation and arson, which were also observed in the Kalbajar and Lachin districts even after the war in 2020. Moreover, the Okhchu River and the Vejnali gold deposit in Zangilan were also subjected to large-scale ecological terror and illegal exploitation.

“The illegal exploitation of the Vejnali gold deposit by foreigners, including foreigners of Armenian origin, will cost them dearly. We know the names of those people. We will expose them to the world and they will compensate us. They will definitely pay compensation for the damage,” President Aliyev said.

“We have now started all the legal procedures … Not a single crime will go unanswered. First, we are calculating all the damage, the process of passportization of all our cities and villages is underway. Video and photos of each building or the ruins of that building are being taken. This is proof, and we intend to appeal to international courts. Preparations are underway.”

According to the preliminary estimates, the amount of material damage caused by Armenians to Azerbaijan’s infrastructure, resources, and citizens totals $818 billion. The environmental crimes caused $285 billion in damages.

The Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly voiced the unprecedented systematic deforestation activities in the Karabakh region, calling for an international investigation into the issue.

Meanwhile, five gold deposits and other natural resources of Azerbaijan in the once occupied territories have been intensively looted by the local Armenian companies and those invited from overseas. Companies such as Vallex Group, First Dynasty Mines, Base Metals, Lydian International, GeoProMining, Vedanta Group, and the Armenian-descent businessmen and entrepreneurs had been involved in illegal mining operations in the Azerbaijani lands. The Franck Muller luxury watch manufacturer company owned by a Swiss tycoon of Armenian origin, Vartan Sirmakes, used gold from the Soyudlu and the Vejnali deposits of Azerbaijan in the production of Frank Muller watches. Sirmakes has reportedly exploited gold worth $302 million.

The contamination of the Okhchu river, one of the eleven rivers of Azerbaijan in the Karabakh region, which is home to more than 30 percent of the country’s overall drinking water reserves, has also been a great concern for the Azerbaijani authorities over the years.

Baku blamed the Armenian authorities for not preventing the pollution of the river, the water of which is not used in Armenia and flows into Azerbaijan’s agriculturally important Araz River. The Okhchu river is said to be used as a “collector” by Armenia’s producers for sending away the industrial wastes from the country’s territory and causing agricultural, environmental, and humanitarian disasters in Azerbaijan. The analysis of the samples taken from the Okhchu river revealed many life-threatening elements in the water, including copper, molybdenum, manganese, iron, zinc, and chromium. According to the examination results, the amount of nickel in the river was seven times, iron four times, and copper-molybdenum two times higher than normal, Caspian News writes.

Relying solely on raw materials sourced within Europe could incentivise the use of cheaper, non-recyclable batteries

Relying solely on raw materials sourced within Europe could incentivise the use of cheaper, non-recyclable batteries, increasing the need to mine virgin materials to power electric vehicles, industry has said.

Rare earth metals, cobalt and nickel, are key components in lithium-ion batteries and are well-suited for reuse, which has given rise to hopes that much of Europe’s demand for these raw materials can be met through recycling rather than mining.

However, until enough end-of-life batteries enter the system to facilitate widescale reuse, it is necessary to continue mining large quantities of virgin materials to meet projected demand.

Under the proposed EU battery regulation, the use of minimum levels of recycled content for cobalt, lead, lithium, and nickel in battery manufacturing will not become mandatory until 2030.

Nickel is primarily sourced from Latin America at present, while around two-thirds of cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But concerns over poor working conditions there and potential supply disruptions have led the European Union to look for raw materials inside Europe in search of greater “strategic autonomy”.

“More than 90% of rare earth magnets are produced in China today,” reads an extract from a recent report by the EU-backed European Raw Materials Alliance.

“This high production concentration in combination with rising global political tensions and a growing Chinese domestic market demand – particularly driven by a growth in electric mobility – results in a high supply risk for these materials from a European perspective,” the alliance warned.

In addition to opening mines within EU countries, EU leaders have sought to strike deals with neighbouring countries such as Ukraine and Western Balkan nations for raw materials sourcing.

Some lawmakers have gone further and called for European automakers to favour battery chemistries that exclusively require raw materials that can be sourced from Europe.

While shifting exclusively to technology that does not require imports may seem like a solution on paper, doing so would harm efforts to create a more circular economy and may require more virgin material extraction, explained Adam McCarthy, President of the Cobalt Institute.

“The thing that makes [cobalt-free cells] attractive to purchasers is the fact that they’re much cheaper. But that also means that it’s not economical for recycling companies to recycle it, because the value of the metals is lower,” he told EURACTIV.

“So, you have this set of trade-offs where it might be helpful [at meeting a certain policy objective] in some ways, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be better from a new sourcing perspective.”

The Nickel Institute said that while there are world-class nickel producers in Europe, nickel sourced from outside of the EU is currently necessary to meet demand.

“Nickel mined within the EU and from sources outside of the EU complement each other. The growing demand within the EU can only be satisfied by ensuring that mine production from the EU and elsewhere go hand in hand,” a spokesperson told EURACTIV.

Green campaigners, for their part, say the status quo is much worse.

“Europe is essentially 95% supply dependent on imports of crude oil,” said Alex Keynes, a clean vehicles expert with green NGO Transport & Environment. “It’s not like the status quo is a better situation [compared to virgin materials for batteries] and for the climate our dependence on oil is obviously a disaster,” he told EURACTIV.

“The key here is for Europe to move away from oil,” he added.

Working conditions

The mining industry has faced controversy over reports of unethical working conditions in developing countries. In 2016, Amnesty International sent tremors through the tech industry when it published a report revealing that 35,000 child labourers worked at cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It may be tempting for Europe to issue a blanket ban on materials from nations implicated in these abuses, but this would not solve the broader problem, according to Adam McCarthy.

“You still need to engage with the underlying issues of poverty that exists in the cobalt mining regions, because without that you’re always still going to find these issues,” he said.

McCarthy referred to the severe poverty that many children in these regions face, noting that some are the de facto head of their household and so responsible for providing an income for their family.

“It’s not just a matter of one piece of legislation tackling the problem. It has to be international cooperation, including the government of the DRC. Some people tend to simplify the issue, although it’s not just black and white. It needs a more detailed and nuanced approach to it, as we see right now,” he added.

This view was broadly shared by Alex Keynes, who argued in favour of rigorous checks rather than halting all mining activity.

“[T&E is] not calling for some kind of moratorium on metals from high-risk areas, because it would actually be, in some cases, a lot worse for the workers in the region if the companies were to blanket pull out. The solution is rather to help regulate the sector and for companies to exercise their own leverage to ensure they’re sourcing from suppliers that are not exploiting their workers,” he said.

The law would also require third party verification carried out by accredited bodies.

Green MEP Henrike Hahn called the due diligence requirements “the key element of the proposed EU batteries regulation”, arguing that verification is needed to weed out abuses in the supply chain.

“These [due diligence requirements] are intended to ensure that neither the production of batteries nor the extraction of the required materials leads to human rights violations or environmental damage,” she told EURACTIV.

“[The Greens] are calling for mandatory due diligence and the system of controls and transparency over the supply chain. That is important to us, including the chain of custody or traceability system,” she added.

Timeline

Mark Mistry, senior manager with the Nickel Institute, said the industry welcomes the due diligence requirements, seeing it as “an opportunity for companies to demonstrate that they fulfil the expectations from regulators, their customers, and civil society”.

However, he warned that the deadlines to implement the responsible sourcing requirements contained in the draft law are overly short given the complexity involved.

“We acknowledge concerns that for the EU battery regulation to be a success, it is important that responsible sourcing be implemented shortly after it enters into force. However, the timeframe needs to remain realistic to develop and implement solid, rigorous responsible sourcing frameworks before auditing takes place,” he wrote in a recent op-ed article.

In response, T&E’s Alex Keynes encouraged lawmakers to stick with the current deadlines, arguing that the due diligence requirement only requires proof that a company has started the process.

“You don’t have to show proof of result, you have to show proof of process and effort,” he said.

“European companies are at the forefront of higher social and environmental sustainability practices. A lot of companies are already implementing social supply chain due diligence policies. Many of these companies are already essentially doing a lot of this stuff,” he added.

Source: euractiv.com

BMM is pleased to announce the completion of its reconnaissance and rock sampling at the Dobrinja Lithium-Borate Project

The Company has conducted an extensive surface prospecting and a permit wide sampling program, consisting of 97 outcrops being observed and the required information being obtained and recorded into the company database. Additionally, 61 samples of lacustrine-appearing sediments were taken for geochemical analysis.

The sampling program was conducted in order to identify prospective stratigraphy with elevated lithium and boron and to allow the inference of prospective sections.

The samples have been submitted to ALS Bor for sample preparation to be conducted and once completed, the samples will be dispatched to ALS Ireland and Vancouver for multi-element ICP analysis. The Company will release the results once received.

Dobrinja

The project occupies intermontane lacustrine Neogene basin within the trend called the Vardar Zone. The Dobrinja license, covering 37.58km2, is located in western Serbia along trend where lithium– borate Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves have been defined (Rio Tinto, Euro Lithium and Erin Ventures)

The Dobrinja basin is generally elongated in a northwest-southeast direction, controlled by the Neogene tectonic. The targeted lacustrine sedimentary sequence comprises of Lower, Middle and Upper Miocene fine pelitic sediments, marlstone, ash-flow tuffs, oil shale and basal clastic flows.

Basement rocks vary in both age and rock type, and include Paleozoic metamorphic rocks, Mesozoic carbonates and Vardar Ophiolites formations. Northwest – southeast trending faults are thought to be major structural controls on basement fracturing and basin development and may also serve as zones of migration for mineral-bearing fluids.

Source: investingnews.com.au

BlueJay Mining Provides Update On Its Outokumpu Project

What’s Going On With BlueJay Mining Plc?

BlueJay Mining Plc (BLLYF) today announced that it’s wholly-owned subsidiary, FinnAust Mining Finland Oy FinnAust, has defined five initial drill targets for gold and silver on the Outokumpu Belt. Shares of the company were trading 4.52% lower to $0.148 a share on Friday.

What Does This Mean For BlueJay Mining Plc?

The first stage will focus on the Haapovaara target, located north of the historical Kylylahti mine and the Haaponiemi target. Bluejay is now the largest license holder on the Outokumpu Belt, which was previously operated by Boliden. Exploration to date has been carried out in the upper or more shallow parts of the Belt and BlueJay is currently pursuing partner opportunities.

“Owing to the recognition of Finland as a premier mining jurisdiction, over the last year we have experienced an exponential increase in interest over our Finnish portfolio. This resulted in Bluejay signing a US$20 million Joint Venture Agreement with one of the world’s largest mining companies for the Enonkoski nickel-copper project in December 2020. Recent data compilation and interpretation for our Outokumpu Project has generated multiple drill-ready exploration targets, supported by several independent geophysical and geological datasets, in this prolific metallogenic belt”, said Bo Stensgaard, CEO of Bluejay Mining.

Bluejay Mining plc, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration and development of precious and base metals in the United Kingdom, Greenland, and Finland.

Bluejay Mining PLC is a UK based company, together with its subsidiaries is engaged in the exploration and development of precious and base metals. It explores copper, nickel, and zinc minerals. All the business activity of the group is operated through various geographical regions which include Greenland, Finland, and the UK. The company works on various projects which include Kangerluarsuk, Outokumpu Copper, Hammaslahti Copper-Gold-Zinc, and Enonkoski Nickel-Copper.

Source: Investors Observer

Euro Sun’s Rovina Valley Project rezoning plan

Euro Sun has officially filed the Planul Urbanistic Zonal (“PUZ”) or Certificate of Urbanism for Land with the County of Hunedoara, Romania and the working group established for the Strategic Environmental Assessment (“SEA”). Euro Sun announced that following the approval of the Avizul de Oportunitate received on June 15, 2021 is allowing the Company to proceed to the next stage of permitting for the Rovina Valley Project. The PUZ or re-zoning process takes the existing pastoral and forest lands within the project footprint and re-zones the required area for industrial activity.

The SEA with the Environmental Protection Agency of Hunedoara County (“EPA”) is the environmental opinion on the PUZ. The EPA continues to receive the agreements and/or opinions from all the administrative authorities for the environmental opinion on the PUZ.

Scott Moore, Euro Sun’s CEO, states, “The PUZ process is well defined and normal for any building project in Romania from a grocery store to a mine. We are very encouraged by the continued positive dialogue with the Hunedoara County Council and other government agencies as we enter these advanced stages of permitting and setting the stage for construction activities to begin.”

Over three consecutive weekends beginning June 26, the Company held eleven town-hall style information sessions in all the communities in and around the Rovina Valley Project. Organized by Euro Sun employees and supported by our lead environmental and social management consultants, ERM, our people provided clear and transparent disclosure on all aspects of the project, from not utilizing cyanide, to not having any wet tailings, to adding 300% of the forests affected by the project prior to re-planting virtually all of our disturbed areas over the life of the mine. The technical design of the project was clearly communicated as well as the economic benefits through significant job creation. The participation of the Romanian State was communicated as well through an explanation of the royalty rates under the National Mining Law; of which a significant portion of those royalties ensure directly to our local communities.

Scott Moore, also stated, “We would like to thank all the participants for attending our information sessions as we strive to ensure total transparency of the Rovina Valley Project and its benefits to all of our local stakeholders.”

Source: globenewswire.com

 

 

Bluejay Mining’s drill targets on the Outokumpu Belt in Finland

Bluejay Mining said it had identified five initial drill targets on the Outokumpu Belt in Finland following re-evaluation of all available data.

The first stage of the drilling programme would focus on the Haapovaara target, located north of the historical Kylylahti mine, where 1,500 metres of drilling is planned, and the Haaponiemi target, a deep target with a planned drilling programme of 2,500 metres.

The company said it is in early discussions with various parties interested in partnering on this project.

‘The metal basket the Outokumpu Belt provides means it is a compelling exploration target in the context of increasing demand for base metals related to the battery industrial ecosystems, electrification and the green transition,’ it added.

Source: stockmarketwire.com

 

 

Extractive industries’ continuous harming of the planet

The extraction of natural resources through mining and energy projects continues on a large scale, with disastrous environmental consequences. To understand how this is possible, one place to start is recognising that extraction is not just a physical engineering process. It requires social engineering as well. To be able to function smoothly, extractive corporations and their governmental allies sculpt social conditions. They “manufacture” consent and “manage” dissent towards their ventures. These industries depend on shaping the perceptions and behaviour of governments, shareholders, consumers, and people living in the areas where large-scale resource extraction occurs.

Usually, the media and academics pay attention when people resist such projects. A well known case is the struggle of the Ogoni people in southeast Nigeria to hold the oil company Shell to account for massive pollution. But it’s also important to notice the way corporations, governments and other elites try to pre-empt opposition. This means looking beyond obvious conflict and repression, to the less visible and long-term efforts to shape people’s opinions and behaviour. In a recent article in Political Geography, we analyse some of these corporate attempts at social engineering.

The counterinsurgency toolbox

 

Many of the corporate strategies and tactics to address opposition come from the toolbox of counterinsurgency. There are “hard” techniques, such as direct and indirect coercion, and “soft” tools aimed at “pacifying target populations”. The “softer” forms often relate to “community relations” work, such as sponsoring local events, medical clinics and other social development programmes. Social investments foster sympathy for extractive projects and dissipate criticism. How can one fight a corporation that provides so many life-affirming opportunities? The “soft tools” of social engineering also include bureaucratic procedures and practices. One example is legislation acknowledging indigenous people’s right to consent to or reject extractive projects on their land. A growing body of research shows how this legislation eases the way for projects to expand into community territories. Another way that extraction is made acceptable is through seemingly neutral speech. A case in point is speaking of “lessons learned” in relation to involuntary resettlement for extractive projects. In Mozambique, representatives of the government and extractive multinationals use the language of “learning lessons” from previous forced displacement efforts. This is to prevent opposition to renewed resettlement plans for liquid natural gas extraction in the north of the country. Directing attention to the technical procedures of displacement and how they can be “improved” takes attention away from displacement itself. And local NGOs become concerned with the resettlement initiatives, instead of critically monitoring the new projects. Bureaucratic procedures can make it look as if the people affected by resource extraction are participating, influencing decisions and sharing in the benefits. But the procedures actually channel and control dissent. They make it seem as if individuals themselves are responsible for gaining or losing from extractive operations, instead of directing attention to structural power inequalities.

The chimera of ‘green mining’

 

Another set of social engineering strategies is “green mining”. Since the 1990s, large-scale extractive companies have started to profile themselves as part of a global transition to sustainability. They engage in biodiversity offsets or draw on and invest in wind and solar power. More recently, corporations have attempted to depict deep-sea mining as sustainable. They claim it has limited impact on deep-sea ecosystems, in particular when compared to the dynamic and volcanic nature of the seabed. But it’s debatable how much “green extractivism” reduces the ecological harm of large-scale resource extraction. Offsets are based on the idea that mining corporations can make up for damage in one place by investing in biodiversity protection elsewhere. Research shows that the net benefits of these investments are very limited. Also, it’s difficult to compare the value of what is lost and what is protected. Biodiversity offsets can be part of political pacification, as shown by the case of Rio Tinto in Madagascar. Through a vast programme of offsetting and restoration, this corporation has managed to counter criticism of its operations. Yet offsets have created conflicts and insecurities for locals. They have also allowed the corporation to extend control over land, people and resources to multiple sites. The green economy has not only become a way to legitimise large-scale resource extraction. It has also become a new source of profit as corporations invest in market-driven nature conservation, ecotourism, and the production of biofuels and low-carbon energy.

Going forward

 

Without further economic transformation, the demand for so called “clean energy” will lead resource extraction to soar. For example, the production of minerals such as lithium and cobalt is expected to increase from 2018 by as much as 500% by 2050. “Green growth” is a false narrative that industries push to continue business as usual. Academics and social movements should expose this narrative to avoid it becoming the cornerstone of climate policy. To address the ecological and climate crisis, policies fostering degrowth and redistribution are needed. This is the only way to acknowledge the historical responsibility of rich countries and ensure climate justice on a global scale.

Source: theconversation.com

 

Eldorado Gold signs new deal with Greece

In order to govern the further development, construction and operation of the Skouries, Olympias and Stratoni/Mavres Petres mines and facilities in northern Greece, collectively the Kassandra Mines, Hellas Gold SA has entered into an amended Investment Agreement with the Hellenic Republic, Eldorado Gold Corporation has announced. Hellas Gold is wholly-owned subsidiary of Eldorado. The Agreement amends the 2004 Transfer Agreement between Hellas Gold SA and the Hellenic Republic, and provides a modernised legal and financial framework to allow for the advancement of Eldorado’s investment in the Kassandra Mines.

Eldorado stated: “The Agreement is mutually beneficial to Eldorado and the Hellenic Republic. For Eldorado, it provides investor protection mechanisms including a permitting framework similar to other large-scale foreign investment agreements in Greece. For the Hellenic Republic, it provides enhanced fiscal revenues, environmental benefits, and community development opportunities.”

The Agreement includes an optimised Investment Plan for the Kassandra Mines which will allow for:

-Completion of construction at Skouries and transition of the project into production;

-Expansion of Olympias to 650,000 t/y;

-Upgrades to the port facilities at Stratoni to allow for bulk shipment of concentrates;

-Further investment in exploration at Mavres Petres-Stratoni;

-Continued study of on-site gold processing methods.

The Agreement will be formally submitted to the Greek Parliament for ratification, with a vote expected to take place in an upcoming parliamentary session. The Agreement takes effect once published in the Greek Government Gazette, which follows parliamentary ratification.

“Today is a major milestone, marking a new beginning for the Kassandra Mines and for Eldorado Gold in Greece,” said George Burns, President and CEO. “This agreement is the culmination of dedicated, determined efforts and reflects a true desire from both parties to deliver a commercial framework that can realise the potential of the Kassandra Mines for all stakeholders. Both Olympias and Skouries have the potential to be tier-one assets that, when combined with the rest of our portfolio, will be transformational for Eldorado.

“We now have a modernised investment agreement that will provide a stable, commercial path for Eldorado in Greece, as well as a strong precedent for future investment in the country once ratified by the Greek Parliament. Together, we are building a positive legacy for generations to come as we continue to commit to operating responsibly and with care for local communities and the environment.”

Key benefits of the agreement

 

-Investor protection mechanisms, similar to other large-scale foreign investment agreements in Greece;

-A permitting framework allowing for a clear path to production and stable operations;

-Increased fiscal revenues for all levels of government, including a 10% increase in royalty rates for all contained metals;

-Enhanced opportunities for local communities, including the creation of approximately 3,000 jobs and an $80 million commitment to community projects over the life of the mines; and

-Reduced environmental footprint through the use of best-available techniques (BAT) at the EU level, as well as global best practices, such as dry-stack tailings, improved water management systems and other design and monitoring improvements.

Next steps at Skouries

 

The company is advancing several key pieces of technical work on the Skouries project, including additional engineering and feasibility-level updates to the capital cost estimate. An application for dry-stack tailings was submitted to the Ministry of Energy & Environment in late 2020 with approval expected once the Ministry has completed its review. The Company is continuing to evaluate financing options for Skouries. Once re-started, the company expects to complete construction in approximately 2.5 years.

Skouries is a high-grade gold-copper porphyry project that is partially constructed and currently in care and maintenance. Skouries is expected to operate for approximately 23 years based on current reserves, initially as an open pit and underground mine, followed by underground mining only.

Highlights of the project as outlined in the Technical Report for Skouries dated January 1, 2018 include:

-Proven and Probable reserves of 3.8 million ounces of gold at 0.74 g/t Au and 1.7 billion pounds of copper at 0.49% Cu, support a 23 year mine life at an average annual production of 140,000 oz of gold and 67 million pounds of copper with production from both open-pit and underground

-Estimated capital cost of $689.2 million, including $87 million in contingency, to fully develop both the open pit and Phase I of the Skouries underground, generating an estimated after-tax project NPV $925 million at a 5% discount rate, an internal rate of return of 21.2%, and a payback period of 3.4 years (at a gold price of $1,300/oz and a copper price of $2.75/lb).

-The project design specifies a dramatically-reduced environmental footprint reflecting some of the best-available control technology, and utilisation of filtered dry stack tailings.

Olympias is a gold-silver-lead-zinc mine that Eldorado refurbished and put back into production at the end of 2017. Olympias produced over 58,000 oz of gold in 2020. The company’s current guidance shows production increasing to between 65,000 and 70,000 oz of gold a year in 2023. Olympias has a mine life of 21 years based on current reserves and outlined in the most-recent Technical Report.

Source: im-mining.com