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European Goldfields granted Greek mining permit.

Greece granted European Goldfields a long-awaited permit to mine for gold in the country's north on Friday, a move set to turn the London-based firm into the European Union's largest primary gold producer.

European Goldfields, which operates a lead and zinc mine in the Halkidiki region, submitted an environmental impact study (EIS) last year seeking permission to mine for gold and other metals at nearby sites.

But Greece delayed approval of the study, partly due to local opposition, but also to make sure the project would have the least possible environmental impact in the area.

"Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou signed today the approval of the project's environmental terms," the ministry said in a statement.

"By approving the environmental terms of the project in Kassandra, Halkidiki, the ministry believes a new horizon is opening up for mining activities in Greece." The ministry said the permit was in line with stricter environmental rules and that European Goldfields had committed to taking action to boost growth in the area or to pay a sum equivalent to finance such action.

The measures will be spelled out in a joint agreement between the two parties, the ministry added.

European Goldfields plans to invest about 1.3 bln euros in the project which, in full operation, will employ about 1,800 people.

At 10:43 GMT, shares in European Goldfields gained 2.7% on the London Stock Exchange.

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Publication:Financial Mirror (Cyprus)
Date:Jul 8, 2011
Words:250
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