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Women activists in the forefront of resistance against Strongylos mine, South Mathiatis, Cyprus

Mathiatis is a small village in the foothills of the Troodos mountain in Cyprus. The project to reopen the Strongylos gold mine has been successfully opposed by the local people and activists.


Mathiatis is a small village in the foothills of the Troodos mountain in Cyprus. In 2017, Hellenic Copper Mines revealed publicly its intention to reopen the Strongylos mine in the South Mathiatis in order to extract gold has been confronted by the local people and activists [1, 4, 6]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Women activists in the forefront of resistance against Strongylos mine, South Mathiatis, Cyprus
Location of conflict:Mathiatis
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
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

"The research and mining activity in the area of the northern mine of Mathiatis began in November 1935 by an American company called Cyprus Mines Corporation (CMS) which was looking for gold deposits, as recorded in the documents and the rare photos kept in the Archives of the Mine Services.

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Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1000-10000
Start of the conflict:03/01/2017
Company names or state enterprises:Hellenic Copper Mines from Cyprus
Relevant government actors:Antiquities department, environment department
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Historical and Environmental Group of Mathiatis:
Community Council of Mathiatis:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
The MPs of Greens in Cyprus
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Educational activities to increase the knowledge on cultural, historical and ecological heritage of the area; participation in debates at the parliament
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsArchealogical impacts
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:The initiatives of local people and activists propose to engage with eco- and agrotourism activities and to establish a model archaeological and environmental park with international recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site [3, 4, 5].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The residents of Mathiatis and activists succeeded in stopping the project and also were able to mobilise and show their reaction to the second proposal of mining company to remove the mining waste and restore the area, which has been perceived suspicious by local people. Additionally, they propose alternatives for the future of the area which would ensure the protection of its natural, cultural, and historical heritage and would serve public interest rather than private interests.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

8 Female Activists in Cyprus Standing up for Environmental Justice (Medium, 27.08.2018) [1]
[click to view]

Facebook page of Historical and Environmental Group Mathiatis [2]
[click to view]

The webpage of Community Council of Mathiatis [5]
[click to view]

New life for ancient Mathiatis mine (Cyprus News, 21.04.2017) [6]
[click to view]

Copper producer plans to extract gold from ore reserves (Cyprus News, 06.01.2017) [7]
[click to view]

Antiquities department pressured to change stance on Mathiatis gold mining (Cyprus News, 09.03.2018) [7]
[click to view]

Mathiatis groups slam mining company's 'trojan horse' plans to extract gold (Cyprus News, 04.08.2018) [4]
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

European Heritage Days 2017, Mathiatis and Agia Varvara, Cyprus [3]
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Irmak Ertör, ENVJUSTICE, ICTA-UAB
Last update04/09/2018
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