The board of Canada’s Eldorado Gold (Eldorado) has approved an investment decision and full restart of construction at the Skouries gold-copper project in northern Greece.

Construction work at the mine was suspended from 2017 to 2021 due to delays in securing permits from the government and opposition from the community.

Following the signing of a new investment contract early last year with Greece, Eldorado has been focusing on resuming construction work at the mine.

However, the Canadian firm said the restart of the project construction was conditional upon the initial drawdown of the €680m ($728m) finance facility that its subsidiary Hellas Gold signed with the National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank as lead arrangers.

The initial drawdown is anticipated to occur in the first quarter of next year.

The financing facility will cover 80% of the anticipated funding needed to complete the gold-copper project, which is half-built.

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By GlobalData

Eldorado plans to cover the remaining 20% of the project funding using its existing cash and future cash flow from operations.

Eldorado Gold president and CEO George Burns said: “Our focus now shifts to project execution, with first production expected in the second half of 2025, followed by a ramp-up as we optimise facilities.

“Once in production, Skouries will have a significant impact on Eldorado’s total gold production and cash cost profile and will diversify our business through revenue from copper.”

According to the feasibility study, the Skouries project is estimated to have a capital cost of $845m and an operational life of 20 years.

The project forms part of the Kassandra Mines Complex located within the Halkidiki Peninsula of northern Greece.

It is expected to have an average production of 140,000oz of gold and 67 million pounds of copper per annum.