Home News Greeks Protest Against Vancouver’s Eldorado Gold Mining

Greeks Protest Against Vancouver’s Eldorado Gold Mining

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Eldorado Gold Mining Protest in Greece

About 600 people demonstrate against Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold in Thessaloniki, Greece, in April 2012. Photo: Teacher Dude.

By Dawn Paley – As people in Greece fight austerity in the streets, top officials are pushing open pit mining as a way out of the country’s economic despair. But just as folks in Greece have taken action against an imposed economic paradigm, they are taking a stand to protect their lands from mining.

“State-corporate propaganda claims that the exploitation of mineral wealth is the only way for Greece to get out of recession and mineral concessions are very high on the list of assets to be sold off,” Maria Kadoglou of Anti-Gold Greece told the Vancouver Media Co-op by email.

People in northern Greece have organized over the last 17 years to keep the coastal regions of northern Greece free of toxic mining projects. But the threat of new gold mines has been renewed over the past couple of years, and this time there is only one company in the game: Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold Corporation.

According to Kadoglou, the proposed Skouries mine is at the centre of the conflict. The company claims there are 3.6 million ounces of gold as well as copper at the site, and the company has already received environmental permits. People working for Eldorado fenced off the site, and tensions with locals, especially around forests and water areas, have been mounting ever since.

“People protesting the Canadian occupation of the mountain found out that [the company] had protection from the Greek police, which threw teargas and flash bang grenades at people, despite the presence of women, children and elderly,” Kadoglou told theVancouver Media Co-op. Videos of the march and the police repression of demonstrators are posted online.

On March 17th, members of various communities from Halkidiki, Thrace and Kilkis, all of which would be impacted if Eldorado’s proposed mines go ahead, gathered to prepare and strengthen their resistance to toxic mining. Here is a translation of part of their joint statement:

Some see the severe economic crisis as a unique opportunity to curb the resistance of the Greek people and  facilitate the pillage of the country… We, the residents of the gold-bearing  regions of  Greece say NO. We are united in a just struggle against the  pillage and destruction of our homeland. Our resistance will keep growing… We are fighting for dignity, freedom and self-determination. We are fighting for tomorrow and we shall win.

Kodoglou says the anti-mining struggles in northern Greece stand out as a paradigm of community grassroots resistance for the protection of land and the environment against the aggression of foreign corporations. Recent meetings have brought activists from Bulgaria and Romania to Greece to organize a regional anti-mining network.

“The main actions that we are organizing include demonstrations and protest rallies, meetings where we invite scientists  to  inform the public about the consequences of such projects, along with screenings of videos from such mines around the world. The legal cases are also very important,” Kodoglou told the Vancouver Media Co-op. “In the past decade we have successfully blocked all gold mining projects that had been permitted.”

Eldorado Gold has three proposed mines and one producing mine in Greece, and other projects in Romania, Turkey, China, and Brazil, along with central offices in downtown Vancouver.

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  • Opusnz

    How about comment from the company so that this is a balanced artlcle?

  • Balanced? Really?

    You can find out the company’s position on their website: http://www.eldoradogold.com/s/Home.asp 

    “We are one of the lowest cost gold producers, with young mines, robust margins and a strong balance sheet. We pay a semi-annual dividend based on the ounces of gold sold and the realized gold price and are well positioned for growth as we create and pursue new opportunities in gold and other resources. We plan to produce approximately 1.7 million ounces of gold annually by 2016.” 

    (Oh, I mean, yea we are going to make lots of jobs and dearly care about nature and the Greek people and economy… )

  • Opusnz

    They worst countries for the environment I have been in have always been the ones with the worst economies and I have been in many.  Of course they want to make money.  It doesn’t mean they can’t do it responsibly and as far as I know, Eldorado has passed every environmental test thrown at them.  I have lived in countries with no jobs and no hope…..in one they couldn’t even afford a dump so everyone just threw everything on the street.  Not a pretty sight.   There are no easy answers…..for everyone you find against the mine you will find someone for it.

  • Cibine

    the mine will employ very few people to justify the environmental damage of this style of mining in the particular protected area. the permits obtained by the company are have been actually made illegal  by few  political and law “agents” in northern Greece. But the company and the supporters are using the police to cover their illegal  yes illegal mining operation. According to the deals signed by the government and the company the local economy and the Greek economy is not going to gain anything from the mines. its just the typical dodgy Balkan deals “give me 100 from the state pie for free ill cut you in for 1%”. 

  • Tzazmin

    if this company try to tell us that this kind of mines are safe,they can make this kind of mines in canada,in germany and france too,but they dont do it cause by the law its illegal to make these kind of open pit mines…here in greece we dont want them,we dont need them…we can survive without gold,without water we can not survive..