As Greece still facing the economic crisis the exploitation of the mineral wealth, on the one hand, seems to be a suitable solution towards the economic development. Greek state has granted the mining rights area of 317,000 acres in northern Halkidiki, rich in gold, copper and other metals in the Canadian multinational Eldorado Gold.
On the other hand residents have a different opinion. They are against the construction of a gold mine in the region, arguing that the investment will cause irreversible damage to the environment, while they support that the benefits accruing from the project will be less than the losses. Almost every day the residents trying to protest by halting the procedures in the mine but they have to deal with the intense presence of the police in the area, which lately looks like warzone.
Thousands of citizens accross the country support the local residents of Skouries by conducting several peaceful protests, like the one in the photo which took place in Thessaloniki. People light candels in order to protest against the mining project and send a message to the government. The protesters included lawmakers, party members, environmental organizations and leftist groups.
As we have seen in the past, a lot of promising mining projects have caused environmental damages at the end. One of them was the Talvivaara mining project in Finland (you can read more here), when in November 11 a significant water leak, 5,000-6,000 cubic meters per hour, with high concentrations of nickel and uranium has occurred leading to an one of the largest chemical disaster of the 21st century.
On the official page of Greenpeace.gr it is declared among others that:
“Panic and maybe obsession, does not allow to the government to see the people behind the numbers thereby ejecting the tension and escalating violence. In this way creates problems rather than solves, baptizing as investments gold mining, hydrocarbons, and the expansion of lignite in Greece.”
Moreover it is mentioned that:
“The Greenpeace is opposed to gold mining at Skouries, as in any type of ‘investment’ that mortgaging the future, does not contribute to a balanced development, or does not effectively contributing to an exit from the crisis and at last divisive rather than unite society.”