Gold mining in Halkidiki, Greece


Description
Cassandra mines operate since 6th BC century and 33 million tons of gold were extracted.
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Basic Data
NameGold mining in Halkidiki, Greece
CountryGreece
ProvinceRegion of Western Macedonia, Regional Unit of Halkidiki
SiteMunicipality of Aristotle
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Mineral processing
Tailings from mines
Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesGold
Lead
Silver
Zinc
Land
Copper
Project Details and Actors
Project Details380 mil. tons of gold will be extracted the next 25 years [1]
Project Area (in hectares)31,700
Level of Investment (in USD)1,638,000,000.00 [8]
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population~18,300
Start Date01/04/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesHellas Gold SA (Hellas Gold) from Greece
Eldorado Gold Corporation (eldoradogold) from Canada
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change; Municipality of Aristotle; Decentralized Administration of Macedonia-Thrace
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSolidarity Statements: Municipalities, Trade Unions, environmental grassroots from all over Greece; Mining Injustice Solidarity Network; Amnesty international; Socialist Alternative (SAV) (Stuttgart, Germany); Working Group “Stuttgart 21 is everywhere” (Germany); Plataforma Salvemos Cabana (Galicia, Spain); Plataforma pola defensa de Corcoesto e Bergantiños (Spain); People's Health Movement (Canada); Party of the European Left (EU); European Gold Forum; Mining Watch Canada; Committee for a Workers International; Italian Forum of Water Movements.

People's solidarity statements: Naomi Klein (journalist, syndicated columnist and author), Noam Chomsky (Prof. MIT, USA), Niki Ashton (Greek-Canadian Parliamentarian), Peter Bohmer (Prof. in the Evergreen State College, USA).

Solidarity resolution signed by representatives from: Socialist Struggle Movement (Israel); Socialist Party (UK); Socialist Action Hon Kong; Socialist Justice Party (Sweden); Socialist Party S. Ireland); Democratic Socialist Movement (North Africa); Democratic Socialist Movement (Nigeria); CWI Malaysia; New Socialist Alternative (India); United Socialist Party (Sri Lanka); LSR (Brazil); Socialismo Revolucionario (Venezuela); Contro Corrente (Italy); Russian CWI; SAV (Germany); Gauche Revolutionnaire (France); Socialist Party (Australia); Socialist Left Party (Austria); Left Socialist Party (Belgium); Socialist Party of Scotland; Alternatywa Socjalistyana (Poland); Socialist Alternative (USA); Socialismo Revolucionario (Chile); Socialismo Revolucionario (Spain); Socialismo Revolucionario (Portugal); New Internationalist Left (Cyprus); Alternativa Socialista Revolucionaria (Bolivia); Sosyalist Alternatif (Turkey); CWI Kazakstan; Observatorio Critico (Cuba); Socialist Movement Pakistan
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingArtisanal miners
International ejos
Recreational users
Farmers
Local ejos
Social movements
Fishermen
Local government/political parties
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Political Organizations; Grassroots
Forms of MobilizationAppeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Development of alternative proposals
Public campaigns
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Blockades
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Strikes
Development of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Refusal of compensation
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Mine tailing spills, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Other Health impacts
OtherPotential Impacts: Cancer (trachea and bronchi, lung, stomach and liver); pulmonary tuberculosis; silicosis; pleural diseases; malaria; dengue fever; hearing loss; increased prevalence of bacterial and viral infections; diseases of the blood, skin and musculoskeletal system; hypertension; disorders in the child’s nervous system; disruption of respiratory function; renal failure; acute and chronic poisoning; gastroenteritis; kidney disease; liver damage; hepatitis; liver cirrhosis; jaundice [1]
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
OtherVisible impacts on agriculture (farming and organic farming, livestock, fishing and aquaculture, logging, hunting, forest fruits and aromatic herbs, forestry) and tourism
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Repression
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesLocal communities present a different development plan and fully disagree with the planned investment. The development option for the wider area that they proposed is based on traditional occupations such as agriculture and promotion of organic farming, forestry products, beekeeping, livestock, processing and trade of local products, fishing and tourism (included alternative forms of tourism, such as agro- and eco-tourism).
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The case cannot be considered as an environmental justice success, as the company still operates, constructing the facilities and devastating the environment. The impacts to the biodiversity, the water and the landscape are irreversible. There are two actions for the cancelation of the investment pending in the Council of State, but the long delay on giving the ruling cannot be considered as a positive fact. Furthermore, the current government provides full support to the company.

From the point of view of the movement, the case is considered successful, because of the mass mobilization of the local societies, as well as the support movement all over Greece and abroad. In addition to this and because of the state repression, strong solidarity bonds were developed among the residents of the region.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Environmental Impact Assessment (in Greek)
[click to view]

Approval of Environmental Terms (in Greek)
[click to view]

Regulation of Mining and Quarry Operations (In Greek)
Government Gazette (ΦΕΚ) 1227 Β 14.06.2011
[click to view]

References

[1] SOS Halkidiki, 2013, Halkidiki Mines, Information, Facts, SOS Chalkidiki Magazine, Volume 1
[click to view]

[8] Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Project Implementation, 2012, pp 44-45 (in Greek)
[click to view]

[4] Giannis Mpaskakis, 2014, The Hellas Gold SA is Amphipolis’ big sponsor, Newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton,27/9/2014
[click to view]

[2] Apostolakis Sakis, 2014, Actions against the mining activities in Skouries are still pending in the Council of State, Newspaper Eleftherotypia, 8 March 2014
[click to view]

[5] Uprising of PAOK funs because of Hellas Gold sponsorship to the team, 2013, Left.gr,
[click to view]

[7] Alevizopoulou Mariniki, 2013, Gold Mining in Chalkidiki: Greek Governments in the Service of Mining Companies, adapted from a report published in UNFOLLOW magazine, Issue 14
[click to view]

[6] Parliamentary question submitted by SYRIZA parliamentarians to the Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection on the donation of Hellas Gold SA to the Greek Police
[click to view]

[3] Hellas Gold, 2014, Accreditation Decisions, Council of State Decisions
[click to view]

Links

Kallis Giorgos, 2012, The rise of a new extractivism and the plea for degrowth
[click to view]

Federico Demaria, Giorgios Kallis and Nick Meynen, 2012, Gold in Greece: corporations create civil war
[click to view]

Meynen Nick, 2012, Greek police chase demonstrators for seven kilometers, beating them up
[click to view]

Council of Europe – Parliamentary Assembly, 2013, Gold mining projects – a danger to human rights, the rule of law and ecological integrity, Doc. 13279
[click to view]

Mining company accused of transporting toxic materials illegally, 2013, Journal Eleftherotypia, ENET English
[click to view]

Amnesty International, 2012, Policing demonstration in the European Union, p. 9
[click to view]

Theodora Oikonomides and Zoe Mavroudi, 2013, Skouries: an ancient forest is Greece’s latest battle-ground, Union Solidarity International
[click to view]

Mining Watch Canada, 2013, Gold and Democracy Don’t Mix – Eldorado Gold Faces Determined Opposition in Greece
[click to view]

SOS Halkidiki, Women's Open Letter
[click to view]

Petition: Solidarity with the struggling women in Halkidiki, Greece
[click to view]

Media Links

The ecologist, 2013, Gold rush: Greek jobs, forest and future under threat as austerity bites.
The latest investigation by the UK Ecologist magazine probes the impact Greece's economic crisis is having on the nation's environment, examining a controversial mining project.
[click to view]

Coordinator Group of Stageira and Akanthos, 2013, Welcome to the Greek Eldorado.
Overview of the investment and the mobilizations.
[click to view]

Nelly Psarrou, 2014, Water drops (Stagones), A documentary on water in Greece, pointing out the impacts of the investment on water in the wider region.
[click to view]

Unfollow, 2012, Chalkidiki Mining: Short story of a rebel
A small documentary on the Northeast Chalkidiki residents' struggle against gold mines and the harsh police repression used by the Greek state in order to protect private company's interests.
[click to view]

Yorgos Avgeropoulos, 2012-2013, GOLDEN TIMES - CASSANDRA'S TREASURE , Small Planet Documentary Production
[click to view]

Yorgos Avgeropoulos, 2011-2012, THE MIDAS EFFECT, Small Planet Documentary Production
[click to view]

Russian Today, 2013, Ecology vs Economy: Dirty gold dig split Greeks in Chalkidiki
[click to view]

Halkidiki Protest against ElDorado Gold Mining Company 3rd August 2013
[click to view]

Other Documents

Police invasion in Ierissos (7 March 2013)
[click to view]

Police invasion in Ierissos (7 March 2013)
[click to view]

Manifestation Skouries (21 October 2012)
[click to view]

Manifestation Skouries (22 October 2012)
[click to view]

Manifestation Skouries (22 October 2012)
[click to view]

Concert in Ierissos (27 September 2014)
[click to view]

Manifestation in Thessaloniki (24 November 2012)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorErmioni Frezouli, Geography Department - Harokopio University Athens (HUA).
Last update15/11/2014
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