Friday August 1, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
32o C
25o 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)  
Greece to help ´hundreds´ of Chinese leave Libya
Plan to restore Asopos River enters final stage
Manolada shooting verdict to be reviewed
Bill introduces new rules for funding of Greek political parties
Traders unhappy with turnover
Three weeks into the summer sales, traders say that purchases are not satisfactory. Shopping levels appear to be lower than during the same period last year, or on the same level at best, ev...
No rivals for Intralot as it bags racing bet permit
Intralot confirmed previous reports on Thursday by appearing as the sole bidder in a tender for the license to operate Greek horse-race betting held by state privatization fund TAIPED. Frenc...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Goalless draw at Liege puts Greens in driving seat
Panathinaikos got the upper hand in the battle for entry to the Champions League playoffs after snatching a goalless draw at Standard Liege on Wednesday. If anything, the Greek cup holders m...
SOCCER
Greek league recruits former referee Dallas
Former referee Hugh Dallas has been appointed as the head referee of the Greek Super League, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) said in a statement on Wednesday. The 56-year-old Scot ear...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
In trying to conquer, Putin unites Europe
President Vladimir Putin is obliged to feign indifference to the sanctions that the European Union and the United States imposed on Russia this week. But, being the player that he is, he mus...
COMMENTARY
Summer turbulence
High summer temperatures appear to have messed with the reflexes of officials at the top echelons of Greece’s power-sharing administration. A sense of anxiety has gripped the political syste...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greece to help ´hundreds´ of Chinese leave Libya
2. Traders unhappy with turnover
3. No rivals for Intralot as it bags racing bet permit
4. Energy cost cuts even without EU approval
5. KEPE: Greek economy returned to growth in Q2
6. July becomes fourth straight month of bourse loss
more news
Today
This Week
1. Motorists refusing to pay tolls on Corinth-Kalamata highway to be monitored
2. Euro flows reveal shift in sentiment as losses mount
3. Greece may ignore EU and lower energy costs for business, says minister
4. EU puzzles over emergency funds for euro area bank crisis agency
5. Only 5 percent of stores see brisker business during this year's summer sales
6. Fake psychic caught in Thessaloniki after gaining 35,000 from victim
Today
This Week
1. Quadriplegic woman on life support 'dies due to unpaid power bills'
2. Wine cup used by Pericles found in grave north of Athens
3. Defense Minister Avramopoulos to represent Greece at European Commission
4. World’s largest solar boat on Greek mission
5. Greece names fifth privatization agency chief in four years
6. Greek coast guard picks up 77 migrants off Myconos
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.