Start of gold mine appeals

The Council of State, Greece?s highest administrative court, is Wednesday to begin hearing the first of six appeals by residents of Halkidiki who want to prevent any further gold mining activity in the area of Skouries.

Nine residents associations, cooperatives and professional groups from the villages of Ierissos and Megali Panaghia have appealed against a joint-ministerial decision last July, which allowed Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold, to dig in Skouries. Residents from other villages have also filed appeals. They claim that the mining is a threat to the environment, the quality of their drinking water, livestock and tourism.

There has been tension in the area since March, when residents started protesting mining activity at Skouries. The local municipality has so far backed the mine. Residents from Ierissos and Megali Panaghia are due to march from the center of Athens to the Council of State this morning.

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