Exporting Canadian Mining Expertise to Grow a Gold Mining Industry in Greece

A nation’s mineral wealth can be a distinct competitive advantage if leveraged responsibly.  In Canada, mining contributes considerably to the Country’s economic strength.  Mining could do the same for Greece.

Canadian mining: an engine for global economic growth

Rich in mineral resources, Canada has a thriving mining sector and leading global expertise in all facets of the industry, from exploration and production to mining finance, supply chain and governance.  Canadian miners are leaders in environmental excellence, responsible mine management and safety.  At home and abroad, Canadian mining is helping to power economic growth.  In 2015, the Canadian mining industry:

  • Contributed C$56 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Accounted for 19% of Canada’s total export value
  • Accounted for 6% or C$63 billion of total Canadian Direct Investment Abroad, making it one of Canada’s largest outward investing sectors

Prudent policy decisions, a clear regulatory process, robust trade partners, competitive tax regulation, and investment in infrastructure and innovation have helped to facilitate Canada’s emergence as a global mining leader.

Greece’s mineral potential and opportunity for development

Greece, like Canada, is also geologically rich.  So rich in fact, that Greece is considered one of the most well endowed mineral countries in the European Union (EU).  The total value of Greece’s indicated mineral reserves exceeded €72 billion in 2012.1

With vast untapped resources, Greece has a real opportunity to work with leading mining companies, like current investor Eldorado Gold, to develop its mineral industry.  The Canadian gold miner is leveraging its global expertise in safely building and operating mines to develop three mines in northern Greece.  Once in operation, the Olympias, Skouries and Perama Hill mines will make Greece one of the largest gold producing nations in the European Union (EU).  The mines will also produce significant amounts of copper, silver, lead and zinc, providing some of the raw materials needed for Europe’s sustainable development.
Development of the Olympias underground gold-silver-lead-zinc mine in northern Greece.

Development of the Olympias underground gold-silver-lead-zinc mine in northern Greece.

Economic benefits of Eldorado Gold’s investment in Greece

With more than €740 million invested in the development of the Olympias, Skouries and Perama Hill projects, Eldorado Gold is one of the largest current investors in the Country.  Capital invested to date has primarily benefitted Greek stakeholders through payments to:

  • Greek employees and contractors in the form of wages
  • Greek suppliers for goods and services rendered
  • The Greek Government in the form of taxes

Subject to receiving the necessary permits and licences, Eldorado Gold expects to invest an additional €92 million over the next five years in developing these assets.  This figure could be even higher if further resources were discovered through exploration.

Estimated benefits over the mines’ lives are:

  • Creation of ~5,000 direct and indirect jobs
  • ~€1.5 billion in salary payments
  • ~€3.0 billion in payments to suppliers
  • More than €1 billion in direct taxes for the Greek State
  • ~€450 million in annual export revenues depending on metal prices
  • ~€80 million invested in local community and infrastructure projects

Building mining as an economic driver in Greece

Greece has the building blocks in place to become an eminent mining jurisdiction.  It has a highly educated population, well-developed infrastructure, significant mineral wealth, and strict EU environmental, health, and safety regulations.  Mining could help drive an economic recovery in the Country, creating both primary and secondary jobs, and generating revenues.  To continue to attract foreign investors with leading expertise in the mineral sector, Greece could look to the framework Canada has developed that makes it a leading jurisdiction for mining investment.  Prudent policy, regulatory certainty and competitive tax regulation will all help to drive further foreign investment in Greece.

Louise Burgess

1 Source: Vasilios Melfos and Panagiotis Ch. Voudouris. (2012).  Geological, Mineralogical and Geochemical Aspects for Critical and Rare Metals in Greece.  Available: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-163X/2/4/300/pdf