Wednesday Jul 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
22o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Gold mine divides northern Greek community

 Protesters warn they will ramp up action against quarrying in Halkidiki
Protesters clash with workers during a blockade of the road leading to the Skouries mine in Halkidiki, northern Greece.

By Thanasis Tsinganas

Local groups in Halkidiki, northern Greece, are protesting against efforts by Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold, to mine the Skouries quarry on Mount Kakkavos and have upped their game with threats of more action.

Protesters recently warned the company that unless all mining stops they are prepared to blockade work sites and roads, organize rallies and resist police intervention, along similar lines to protesters in Attica’s Keratea area, where action against a landfill led to several violent clashes with police in 2011.

“A complete cessation of mining is the only action we are prepared to accept from the state, otherwise there will be tension that could get out of hand,” one member of the committee protesting the gold mine, Lazaris Toskas, told Kathimerini.

One month after scuffles broke out between workers and protesters who had blockaded the road leading to the Skouries mine, it looks as if protesters are poised to ramp up their action, threatening a drawn-out period of tension that will affect the entire region.

Another factor that is causing authorities concern is that the issue has divided the local community.

On the one hand are groups of residents in Megali Panaghia, Ierissos and the so-called Mandemochoria cluster of hamlets, who argue that mining in Skouries destroys the natural environment, will deplete the region’s resources and downgrade the entire area. Their position is backed political parties such as the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the Green Ecologists and the Alternative Ecologists. They are also backed by a number of extra-parliamentary leftist groups as well as anti-establishment factions operating outside Halkidiki that are protesting the operation of the gold mine.

On the other side, hundreds of miners, many of whom come from a long line of local gold workers, have sided with Hellenic Gold. They believe that the investment will provide a lifeline for the local economy and that the dangers cited by the protesters are unfounded.

Hellenic Gold, which has been active in the region for eight years, stands by its position that all environmental and other regulations are being strictly enforced, and wants to continue with mining without further delay.

Over the past few weeks, however, protesters have clashed with workers and with riot police dispatched to the area to ensure that the site stays open. They have also marched and held a number of rallies that turned violent in front of Ierissos Town Hall, as well as torching the car of Mayor Christos Pachtas who has voiced his support for the gold mine.

“We will not just block all mining; we will make sure that not a single hole is dug in the ground,” said Toskas.

According to the protester, the investment will create fewer jobs than those that will be lost as a result. He also accused Hellenic Gold of pitting locals against each other. “We have nothing against the workers, but we do against those who incite them,” he said.

Toskas said that the protesters have planned more action for May 1 at the Skouria forest.

In the other camp, Angelos Deligovias, the president of the miners’ association, argues that “investments such as this are unlikely to be seen anywhere else in Greece. More than 1,500 people will be employed in the mine. If you are unemployed in this day and age, you know how important a job is. We live here, we have invested in the region and our children are here. The project will proceed and it will allow us to remain here,” he said.

According to Hellenic Gold CEO Petros Stratoudakis, the problem lies in the fact that Greece has yet to formulate a clear investment strategy. He also said that the mine has boosted the use of new technologies and the monitoring of environmental standards. “The local community is involved and a part of the gains went to the local municipality,” he added.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday April 24, 2012 (20:41)  
Finance Minister, MPs to finalize overhaul of party funding laws
EU envoy sees ´clear progress´ on immigration, asylum
Coalition split over civil service evaluation scheme
Golden Dawn using legal tricks to delay trial
Number of firms filing for bankruptcy in Greece drops
The number of companies that filed for bankruptcy in Greece last year declined by 5.5 percent from 2012, according to ICAP Group data released on Tuesday by the Federation of Business Inform...
TAIPED finally finds suitors for Afandou properties
Following the third sale announcement, state privatization fund TAIPED has managed to find five candidate buyers for the two plots up for grabs at Afandou on Rhodes. The fund announced on Tu...
Inside Business
TRACK & FIELD
Athens, the Marathon capital of the world for good
Paco Borao, the man who restored Athens as the Marathon capital of the world with the establishment at the Olympic Sports Center of the headquarters of the International Association of Marat...
TRACK & FIELD
Pole vault record on same day as three doping cases
Greek track and field had a mixed weekend, as on the same day as Katerina Stefanidi matched the national record in pole vault as well as the leading result in Europe so far this season, thre...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Unequal after death
The dead are dead and the slain are slain, whether they are Malaysian, Dutch, Palestinian or Israeli, whether they are the innocent victims of a civilian plane that is shot down (we still do...
EDITORIAL
Chinese investment
The relationship between Greece and China has become one of major strategic importance. Beijing threw its support behind Athens during a period when the country was going through particularl...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Number of firms filing for bankruptcy in Greece drops
2. TAIPED finally finds suitors for Afandou properties
3. Traders say last weekend proved Sunday opening is pointless
4. Fight for ADMIE privatization ends
5. Strategy focuses on debt sustainability
6. Minor gains at the end of up-and-down bourse session
more news
Today
This Week
1. Unequal after death
2. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
3. Chinese investment
4. Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europe's laggards
5. Shares in Greek renewable energy firm drop in trade debut
6. Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
Today
This Week
1. Ex-Credit Suisse banker taps lesson for Greek rebound
2. The cost of excellence
3. Greece seen in third bailout as bonds not enough, economists say
4. Summer storms cause problems in Thessaloniki, spread across the country
5. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
6. Greek banks able to tap investors after stress tests, HFSF Says
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.