VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Canadian miner Eldorado Gold Corp’s threat this week to freeze investments in Greece after years of frustrating and costly permit delays highlighted the risks the industry faces when it strays away from mining-friendly countries.
After moving into higher-risk countries in recent years to mine new deposits, companies are being forced to seek safe havens during a rise in so-called resource nationalism and other political headwinds.
From Indonesia and Tanzania to South Africa and Zambia, governments are demanding greater control over mineral riches as metals prices rise, often seeking higher royalty payments. In Eldorado’s case, the company faces a leftist-led Greek government that publicly backs investment but has powerful insiders that oppose privately owned mining projects.
A resurgence in resource nationalism, last seen during the decade-long commodities boom ending in 2012, has made safer regions like Canada and the United States more attractive for investment, industry analysts say.
“Now that prices across most commodities are improving, governments are again turning their attention to this issue,” said Anton Ivanyi, consulting firm EY’s British Columbia mining and metals sector leader.