Approval of Skouries project
On November 18, 2016, Greece approved Eldorado Gold’s (EGO) application to build a plant at its Skouries gold mine in northern Greece. The development of this project has been hampered by lengthy permitting and licensing delays following environmental concerns.
Eldorado hhalted the development of its Skouries project in January 2016, laying off 600 workers, as the necessary permits weren’t forthcoming. The company started the preparatory work for construction at its Skouries site in June 2016, after it received approval of an updated technical study.
Skouries is a high-grade gold and copper deposit located in northern Greece. It will operate as an open-pit and underground mine for ~nine years, after which it will operate as an underground mining facility for ~15 years. Eldorado plans to develop Skouries in a two-phased approach, with production expected to begin in 2019.
Skouries’s phased development plan
Phase 1 of the Skouries project will be the combination of open-pit and underground mining for the first nine years. This phase is expected to produce a total of 1.4 million ounces of gold and 620 million pounds of copper, and its average cash operating costs are expected to be -$225 per ounce of gold, mainly due to copper by-product credits.
Phase 2 of the Skouries project will involve underground mining for a 15-year period following the completion of Phase 1. The total production expectation from this phase is 1.7 million ounces of gold and 850 million pounds of copper. Its average cash operating costs are expected to be $165 per ounce of gold.
With this project, Eldorado is set for robust production growth going forward. Among the company’s peers (GDX), Newmont Mining (NEM), Barrick Gold (ABX), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM), and Goldcorp (GG) also have strong project pipelines.