Vevi lignite deposit saga offering “Little PPC” hints

A long-delayed leasing agreement for the mining rights of a lignite deposit in northern Greece, signed yesterday by Environment, Energy & Climate Change Deputy Minister Makis Papageorgiou and gained by Aktor, could be interpreted as a prelude indicating prospective developments in the part-privatization of PPC, the Public Power Corporation.

The specific lignite deposit, located in Florina’s Vevi region, is directly linked to the energy supply for a regional electricity plant dubbed “Melitis 1”, which, along with a neighboring lignite mining facility, and an operating license for a second plant, “Melitis 2”, comprises part of the assets to be incorporated into the prospective 33 percent sale of PPC, locally dubbed “Little PPC”.

Aktor, whose portfolio includes mining, quarrying, construction, photovoltaics, facility and project management, is already active in electricity production, and associated with two major foreign players, Edison and EDF. The Greek company’s acquisition of the Vevi lignite deposit’s mining rights further bolsters its role in the electricity sector ahead of the launch of PPC’s part-privatization procedures, whenever this takes place.

When the tender for the Vevi deposit rights was announced, Aktor had signed a memorandum of agreement with energy company Elpedison – a joint venture comprised of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), Edison, and Ellaktor, Aktor’s parent company – for the development of a privately run electricity production plant in Florina’s Meliti area, if Aktor was awarded the operational rights for the lignite deposit.

The tender process for the Vevi lignite deposit has unfolded as a seemingly never-ending drama. Two governments led by two political parties and a total of five Development and Energy Ministers, all over eight years, did not suffice to complete the tender process granting operational rights to a private investor, until now, with approval by the sixth minister to have handled this ordeal. The tender for the deposit, containing an estimated 90 million tons of lignite, was originally launched in 2006.