Despite violent protests, Canada’s Eldorado Gold said it plans to go ahead with work on a gold mine in northern Greece, refuting reports it had given up because of the opposition and difficulty of doing business in Greece.
“I don΄t know of any company that wants to pull out that has tripled its staff in less than a year,” Petros Stratoudakis, Managing Director of Eldorado Gold subsidiary Hellenic Gold. “Does the Greek state want us? We are expressing our desire to stay,” he told a news conference in Thessaloniki, as reported by Capital. gr
He also stated that the company intended to add 3,000 staff to its workforce of around 1,200 over the next two years and invest three million euros ($3.8 million) this year. Protests have been held in Athens and Thessaloniki over recent months against the government΄s decision to allow Hellenic Gold to dig in the northern Halkidiki peninsula, one of Greece΄s major tourist destinations.
Demonstrators said the mining operation would ruin the environment and hurt tourism but supporters said it will bring in critically-needed jobs. “We have 20 years of experience in safely operating and decommissioning goldmines worldwide,” said Eduardo Moura, Eldorado Gold΄s General Manager for Greece.
He noted that the local council of Aristotelis, the town closest to the Halkidiki dig, had approved the company΄s environmental impact assessment in 2010. “This is one of the best environmental impact studies ever compiled in Greece,” said Michalis Vavelidis, a geology lecturer at Thessaloniki΄s Aristotelio University. “It follows European regulations which are more stringent that those in the United States, Canada or Australia,” he said.