Pictures taken during a trip to North-Eastern Halkidiki in June of 2013. Information translated into English from an informational pamphlet comprised by:
The Rector’s Council, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) ; the Environment Council – AUTH ; the Faculty of Agriculture AUTH ; the TEE (Technical Chamber of Greece) ; the Department of Central Macedonia -Sector of touristic enterprises (TEI Thessaloniki)
1. THE DESTRUCTION OF HALKIDIKI HAS STARTED!
Since mid June 2012, the Canadian company ELDORADO GOLD, together with AKTOR, the company of George Bobolas, and with the approval of the Greek government, is leveling the virgin forest of Skouries in order to transform it into a giant open mining pit. The cruelly oppressive “investment“ which is planned will transform Halkidiki into a wasteland and every drop of water will dry up.
“Poverty is not having water to drink.“
ALL TOGETHER WE CAN SAVE OUR HALKIDIKI !
2. WOUNDS FROM THE PAST, TOTAL DEVASTATION OF THE FUTURE.
-The “investment“ of HELLAS Gold (95%the Canadian Eldorado Gold & 5% Aktor of George Bobolas) is not simply the continuation of the long history of mining in Halkidiki, as it is often presented, but a barbaric intervention in a small and densely populated region with a rich natural and cultural environment.
- The future mining is of a colossal scale compared to the historical mining of the area and compared to the mining of today! 33 million tons in 2,500 years, whereas the future mining will procure 380 million tons in 25 years, up until the last gram of metal is extracted.
- All of the mining activities and the mining facilities are situated on the active seismic fault which has already caused two earthquakes above 7 Richter’s.
- The destruction which is coming will be of biblical proportions! To the existing small-scale underground mining operation, a number of new surface mines will be added along with heavy industrial metallurgy. Metallurgy (the processing of ore to produce pure metals) is the most polluting industrial activity in the world.
- From the previous mining activity, the environment of the region has already suffered significant and irreversible damage. The responsible companies and their executives have been granted amnesty with the partial laws of former Deputy Finance Minister Christos Pachtas. “HELLENIC GOLD“ is EXEMPT in advance from any liability, even for future damages.
3. ZERO EXPECTED REVENUE FOR THE STATE
- Not even one euro will go to the state from the gutting of Halkidiki, because the transfer agreement and its ratified law do not provide for leasing fees nor royalties for the state.
- The transfer of the mines to Hellas Gold in 2003 for 11 million euros, which was never received by the State, is a huge scandal for which Greece has been condemned by the European Commission and referred to the European Court. The former Minister of Finance Christos Pachtas holds a key role in this dark case, as he now continues his work serving the gold diggers from his seat in the Mayor’s office of the municipality of Aristotelis, in Halkidiki. (*Pachtas is no longer mayor of Aristotelis, having been defeated by anti-mining candidate Yiannis Michos in the May 18th 2014 local elections.)
4. THE CATASTROPHIC PLAN FOR HALKIDIKI
Mavres Petres (Black Stone)
- the only mine that is working today.
- Underground mining, entirely below the village of Stratoniki and on top of the active seismic fault of Stratoni-Barbara.
- Third-world type mining, surface and underground mining, with an open-pit of over 700m in diameter and 220m deep.
- The Destruction of 3.300 acres of primeval forest, an area 5,5 times bigger than the capital of the municipality, Ierissos.
- Complete draining of the Kakkavos mountain, the biggest aquifer of Halkidiki, currently supplying water throughout the municipality of Aristotle and in the future throughout all of Halkidiki through the “Chavria“ dam.
- Τhe transformation of large streams (Karatzas-Karolakkas, Lotsaniko) into toxic waste dumps.
- An underground mine, which is currently 316m below sea level and will be extended to 650m below sea level.
- Underground tunnel for the transport of ore (Olympiada-Madem Lakkos) 9 km long, the largest of its sort in Greece. The tunnel will pass through and will drain the Stratoniko mountain, which is protected by NATURA2000.
- Α compound of factories, on the provincial road of Thessaloniki – Stavros – Mount Athos, located in a forest and just 400m from Stratoni and 700m from the sea. The height of the main chimney is 60m.
- The method of “flash smelting,” the supposed “without cyanide” method, has not been implemented anywhere else in the world οn an industrial scale for ore, as is the case in Halkidiki.
- Sulfuric acid producing plant, 450.000 tons / year, which will be transported by pipeline to Stratoni.
- Ore processing from other parts of Greece and abroad.
- Α hazardous waste pool (cesspool) with a barrier height of 90m and a capacity of 20 million tons will be built into the current stream bank of Kokkinolakkas (which will be diverted) and will occupy a waterside forest area of 700 acres.
Industrial port of Stratoni
- Two new wharves, 300m and 240m in length, for loading and unloading large cargo ships and tankers of sulfuric acid.
- Storage tanks of mineral concentrates and sulfuric acid on the beach of Stratoni.
Fisoka, Tsikara, Piavitsa…
and 14 other areas are the new “targets” where intensive research is already being done for much greater sized mining projects than those of Skouries and Olympiada.
5. WHAT INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTIONS SAY ABOUT THE “INVESTMENT“
- Draining of the mountainous mass - decline in the floor-level of the aquifer by 600m and desertification.
- Pollution of surface water and of ground water with sulfuric acid and heavy metals (acid drainage)
- Increase in the intensity and the risk of floods
- Saltwater intrusion to the coastal aquifers from the deep mining in Olympiada.
- This area has the largest forest covering (92%) and the largest drinking water supplies in Halkidiki.
- 15 million kilometers of water a year is pumped out and lost, only from current mining activities in Northern Halkidiki, a quantity that could meet the needs of 275.000 inhabitants!
- Pollution of the air with particulate matter and heavy metals, especially arsenic. The dust, and only that of the Skouries mine, will amount to 3 116 tons/ hour, a size comparable to the emissions from the lignite mining in the large mines of ΔΕΗ (Public Power Corporation of Greece)! This dangerous dust will travel long distances like the red dust of the Sahara.
- Permanent and irreversible damage to the region’s virgin forests, the landscape and the biodiversity.
- Widespread heavy metals pollution of water, soil, flora, fauna and crops, even at large distances from the mining activity.
- The pollution by heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, copper) of the environment and the food chain will result in diseases such as : effects on the nervous system of children, anemia, kidney damage, gastroenteritis, nephritis, liver damage, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, jaundice, cancer.
6. THE SAME INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTIONS AFFIRM THE GENERAL DEGRADATION OF THE AREA
- Changes in the characteristics of the region, from rural and touristic to a region of heavy industry
- Very large-scale intervention in a small and densely populated area that makes a living mainly from the unique natural beauty of the environment.
- Depreciation of its property. 317.000 acres of North East Halkidiki is characterized as a “mining area” where the law prohibits the development of any other activity if it proves an obstacle to the mining activity.
- Loss of jobs, many more than those that will be created by the mining activities, from all sectors of the local economy, with tourism as the first victim.
- Agriculture, livestock, forestry, beekeeping, fisheries, and also processing and packaging of agricultural products, will suffer irretrievable consequences.
- Rupture of the social fabric.
The above information is the English Translation of an informational pamphlet comprised by:
-Rector’s Council, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH)
-Environment Council – AUTH
-Faculty of Agriculture – AUTH
-TEE (Technical Chamber of Greece), Department of Central Macedonia
-Sector of touristic enterprises (TEI Thessaloniki)
ALL TOGETHER WE CAN SAVE OUR HALKIDIKI !
For more information, please visit:
For articles on the topic, see:
Eldorado Gold’s Big Greek Mining Problem (Canada’s The Globe and Mail)
Ierissos, Ierissos! (Libération, in French)
Gold Mining Stirs up Controversy in Greece (Germany’s Deutsche Welle)