Court approves Skouries gold mine project

The Council of State on Thursday upheld a 2011 ministerial decision to allow the controversial gold mine in Skouries, Halkidiki, to go ahead.

Greece’s highest administrative court ruled that the mine is not located within a nature protection area, part of the European Union’s Natura 2000 network. The court also decided that the project would not cause significant damage to the area.

Eight residents’ associations had appealed against the July 2011 decision by the government to give the green light to Hellas Gold, 95 percent-owned by Canadian Eldorado, to mine in the area. Residents argued that the project would cause irreparable damage to the environment and the Skouries forest in particular.

Hellas Gold signed a contract with the Greek state in 2004 that allowed it to use an area covering about 0.2 hectares to mine the precious metal. Greece earned 11 million euros from the deal.

More than 20 people suspected of being involved in an arson attack on Hellas Gold’s offices and vehicles in Skouries last month are due to be questioned in Thessaloniki today.

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