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Greece looks to prevent possible closure of nickel producer Larco

Greece is looking at ways to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply for Larco SA, which operates the Larco nickel project, in an effort to avert the possible closure of Europe's largest nickel producer, Reuters reported Dec. 12.

The state holds a 55% interest in Larco, which owes about €280 million in unpaid electricity bills to state-controlled power utility Public Power Corp. SA, or PPC. The power utility also holds a minority stake in the nickel producer.

A senior energy ministry official told the news wire that PPC has directed the Greek grid operator ADMIE to cut off the power supply. Energy Minister George Stathakis held talks with the managements of PPC and Larco as the government looks to resolve the issue, the official added.

"We are mediating to end the impasse and find common ground towards a mutually accepted solution to the Larco issue," Stathakis said following a meeting with workers' representatives at Larco, adding that they were working toward a plan that refrains PPC from cutting power supplies before the start of 2019.

Stathakis also added that Larco should reduce its production to correspond to lower nickel prices and reduce wage costs.

Larco employs around 1,000 people in Greece. It produced 21,800 tonnes of nickel in 2016, Reuters cited Refinitiv Eikon data.