ECONOMY

Gov’t looks into tapping Greece’s rare earth elements

Environment and Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis on Tuesday spoke of encouraging signs concerning the existence of rare earth elements in Greece following a meeting with members of a group of Chinese representatives in Greece to attend an international conference on the subject on the island of Milos.

Maniatis said Greece is one of just five European countries to have such indications. He added that the country’s mineral wealth is among its comparative advantages, as its total estimated value amounts to 40 billion euros, while Greece has much in the way of rare minerals, particularly in the north.

Those rare minerals include elements that are necessary for the manufacture of computers, cars, satellites, windpower generators and many more products. Over 90 percent of such minerals’ global reserves are in China, which has developed significant know-how in finding and mining them. In Greece there are two ongoing programs concerning rare minerals in onshore and offshore areas.

The initial aim of the Greek-Chinese negotiations is to establish cooperation on technical and scientific level, with the possible utilization of Greek reserves in the future.