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 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'.
Birbili also said that she wanted to make sure that the project would not pollute groundwater reserves. She did not indicate when there would be a final decision.
Local activists fiercely oppose the project, saying it would harm the environment and living conditions in the area.