Ekathimerini.com reports, “Police fired tear gas to fend off protesters who had gathered in the Skouries area of Chalkidiki, northern Greece, on Sunday to protest gold mining activity. …Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold, has begun mining activity that locals are appealing against. …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 Vancouver-based mining company is the concession-holder for the Olympias and Skouries gold mines which are expected to enter full production by 2015. A mining industry blog has noted, “Although the acquisition was held up for more than five years because of delays associated with Greece wanting to prevent foreign ownership, the recent debt struggles of the company helped to influence a change in policy. Permits to work were finally granted in July 2010, as a move was made by Greek leaders away from tourism development to a foundation of foreign-funded mining, the Times reported.”
This is not the first conflict related to the mine. In late-March 2012, we noted in a campaign blog that a media release had been issued by Initiative 136 which highlighted, “Several hundred men on the payroll of ‘Greek Gold S.A.’, a subsidiary of Canadian company ‘European Goldfields’, attacked a group of local activists that are defending the virgin forests of Chalkidiki against the construction of a mine that will poison the land and water and destroy the future of the local community.” That’s at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14295.