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NEWS: Canadian mining company offices torched in Greece

The Associated Press reports in the Toronto Star, “At least 40 masked attackers raided the facilities of a Canadian company’s prospective gold mine in northern Greece overnight Sunday, setting fire to machinery and offices, authorities said. …The mining company, Hellas Gold, is 95 per cent owned by Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold Inc. A Greek company, Aktor, owns the remaining 5 per cent.”

“There has long been vehement opposition to the prospect of a gold mine and processing plant being built at Skouries in the Halkidiki peninsula, with residents objecting to what they say will be the destruction of pristine forest in the area, leading to the loss of tourism, fishing and farming. …Eldorado CEO Paul Wright (said in a statement) that the company went through an ‘exhaustive’ environmental review before it was approved to begin operations at Skouries.”

But it would appear that the environmental review has been less than ‘exhaustive’. In October 2012, Bloomberg reported in an article about the Eldorado mines that, “Gold mining is gathering momentum after Greece began what it called a ‘fast-track’ approvals programme (under austerity measures). In 2011, Greece implemented the Fast Track programme to spur investment in projects of national importance, including gold mines. The environment ministry has accelerated the issue of permits.”

The previous month, Ekathimerini.com had reported, “Hellenic Gold has been awarded an area of 26,400 hectares, of which 410 is forest land. Almost all the trees in the forest will be cut down as part of the mining firm’s plan to extract gold. …Opponents of the mine argue it would lead to the destruction of the local forest and irreversible damage to the ecosystem.”

The AP article notes, “Police detained 27 people for questioning in a local police station early Sunday morning, they said. No arrests were immediately made.”

The mine is expected to begin operation in 2015.

For more on this, please see:
NEWS: Anti-mine protesters march on Canadian consulate in Thessaloniki, Greece, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18046
VIDEO: Women protest Canadian mining company’s forest cutting in Greece, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17197
NEWS: Vancouver-based mining company threatens Greece’s water, trees under austerity measures, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17145
UPDATE: Greeks protest Vancouver-based mining company that threatens water, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16502
UPDATE: Canadian mining company said to be involved in attack in northern Greece, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14295