In a bid to help protect Milos’s vital tourism industry, authorities from the island have called on the government to freeze plans to issue new mining permits until the completion of a land planning project. The decision comes in response to a draft bill, prepared by the Development Ministry, that gives mining companies legal dominance at the expense of others. The bill proposes that in places where there are a cluster of quarries, the areas can be zoned off and other types of commercial activity will not be allowed. Critics attacked the proposed law by saying that it encourages the further mining of barite on the Cycladic island. Local officials are now trying to slow down any possible increase in mining activity by preventing the issuing of new permits or the extension of existing ones. «The council of Milos has launched procedures so that it can announce immediately the composition of a town planning scheme. We cannot have hotels moving in one direction and mining companies in another,» Milos Mayor Giorgos Tsainis told Kathimerini yesterday. As a means of strengthening their fight, Milos officials are coordinating efforts with the Technical Chamber of Commerce and the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE). «We need to create a clear framework of rules that will set out the future of the island. No legislation should override this framework. Therefore, Milos must be exempted from Article 4 of the draft bill for special exploitation zones,» he added. In a letter sent to Kathimerini, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas denied that the draft bill favors mining companies in Milos and Attica.