Tuesday September 2, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
23o 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)  
Greek singer-songwriter Antonis Vardis dies aged 66
Red tape cut in application process for Greek ID cards
Fake doctor offered outdoor consultations in Katerini
Man, 67, arrested on child abuse charges in Aigio
Deadline looms for struggling Cyprus Airways
Potential buyers of Cyprus Airways have until Wednesday to submit nonbinding offers for the loss-making national carrier, with Ryanair and Aegean Airlines in the running. Ireland’s budget ca...
Bank of Cyprus expects to relist on Nicosia, Athens exchanges
Bank of Cyprus, the Cypriot lender which recapitalized last year using depositors’ savings, said late on Monday it expected its shares to relist on the Cypriot and Athens stock exchanges by ...
Inside Business
Grateful Saviola thanks Olympiakos, joins Verona
Former Argentina international Javier Saviola has thanked Greek champions Olympiakos for the "beautiful moments" during his season-long stint in Greece as he left the club to join Serie A ou...
SOCCER
Greece defender Papadopoulos fires parting shot at Michel
International defender Avraam Papadopoulos suddenly quit Olympiakos on Monday to join Turkish club Trabzonspor, and fired a parting shot at Olympiakos manager Michel putting the blame on the...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Politicized archaeology
Let us suppose that archaeologists discover that the tomb uncovered in Amphipolis was not the resting place of Roxana or Nearchos, but of Alexander the Great. Let us assume, that is, that ar...
EDITORIAL
Moderating expectations
Politics is, to a great extent, all about managing expectations, and anyone who raises that bar too high or too fast is at serious risk of disappointing and losing the people’s favor. In a c...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Deadline looms for struggling Cyprus Airways
2. Bank of Cyprus expects to relist on Nicosia, Athens exchanges
3. Greek singer-songwriter Antonis Vardis dies aged 66
4. Red tape cut in application process for Greek ID cards
5. Fake doctor offered outdoor consultations in Katerini
6. Man, 67, arrested on child abuse charges in Aigio
more news
Today
This Week
1. Politicized archaeology
2. Rain and storms with hail expected in many parts of Greece
3. Reforms to dominate Greek talks in Paris, debt relief talks later, says source
4. New committee formed to assess progress of deregulation in closed-shop professions
5. Moderating expectations
6. Trial over 2013 murder of pawn merchant starts in Athens
Today
This Week
1. Thessaloniki mayor Boutaris sworn in wearing yellow star amid Golden Dawn protests
2. The battle against progress
3. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
4. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
5. Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
6. Hardouvelis, ECB executive discuss bank program, stress tests
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.