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TVX Gold, Inc. (TVX) Message Board

  • ckmb54 ckmb54 Mar 6, 2002 12:26 PM Flag

    TVX Has To Re-Think RecoveryTechnology

    TVX Gold Has To Re-Think Recovery Technology At Olympias Gold Project.
    At first sight it is all too easy to criticise the Greek authorities for calling a halt to the operations of Canadian listed TVX Gold at its Olympias gold project in Greece. Sean Harvey, the CEO of the company, certainly had a go, saying, ""We are very disappointed with the decision from the Conseil d' Etat. We have more than fulfilled our contractual obligations under the Acquisition Agreement and have spent in excess of US$250 million in Greece with the understanding that, as specified in the ratified Acquisition Agreement, we would be given valid permits to enable us to develop a gold recovery plant at the Olympias site."It is understandable that he should be upset, particularly as only three weeks earlier the Greek Government issued a permit to TVX allowing it to continue mining at the Mavres Petres mine, which is part of TVX's Stratoni zinc-lead-silver operations. This permission was granted following an independent study conducted by six Greek professors from the National Technical University of Athens on behalf of the Ministry of Development, an extensive review by relevant government departments and positive local community information meetings. Without dissent they decided that the proposed mining method was both safe and appropriate for the Mavres Petres orebody.The Greeks take these things pretty seriously and Mr Harvey may have thought he was on a bit of a roll with the authorities after getting this permission. As he said at the time, "The Company is pleased with the commitment shown by the Greek Government and the local residents to TVX Hellas and its employees in the region. We are encouraged that the open communication established between the Government, the local communities and TVX Hellas has improved relations in the region resulting in decisions being made on a timely and informed basis". And well it might be as TVX was seeking to mine under part of a village to pursue the orebody.The problem at Olympias is quite different and the projects are some way away from each other. The Kassandra mine's assets, which included the Olympias mine and mill facilities, the Stratoni mill and associated mines, and the Skouries deposit were acquired from the Greek government in December 1995. At that time, according to TVX, the government signed a permit, binding in law, that it would issue the required permits to TVX Hellas for the development of a gold recovery plant at the Olympias site.
    It is a bit simplistic, however, for TVX to assume that this gave the company carte blanche to instal any recovery circuit it chose regardless of environmental considerations. A number of people with experience of Greek mining have confirmed to Minews that the writing has been on the wall as far as cyanide is concerned for some time. The problems were not so much with the plant circuits themselves, but with local protesters who proved very vocal.. Back in September the new chairman of Greenwich Resources, John Bovard, decided not to use cyanide in the gold recovery process at the Sappes project in Greece and switched to a gravity and flotation circuit. In this light Sean Harvey may be doing his company no favours by threatening legal action, claiming that the ruling effectively blocked development of the gold plant at Olympias. TVX's Stratoni base metal operation and the Skouries development project are unaffected by the Olympias decision and the fact that a lot of money has been spent on Olympias is unlikely to cut much ice with the authorities. The project has not been blocked, just the recovery technology. It is time for a re-think..
    http://www.minesite.com/archives/news_archive/2002/mar-2002/tvx_gold060302.htm