EJOLT has already reported on problems with gold mining in Greece in general (here and here) and more recently specifically on the rising conflict in Halkidiki (here and here). We received an important update send to us by a group of local activists – with at least some reason for cautious optimism. Here is their press release:
Yesterday, Eldorado Gold Corp. announced the delay in starting production in Skouries, Halkidiki, Greece and the reduction of costs by 35%. According to the announcement, the Company makes these changes due to the significant decline in the gold price (-22% last year) and the revisions are intended to maintain the company’s profile as a “low-cost”, profitable and growing. With the new management plan, the company estimates that ensures the functioning of company at gold price of 1,250$ / ounce.
The fall of gold price lately led many mining companies to review their plans. In a Reuters’ report, a financial analyst said that it is very difficult for mining companies to cut spending in order to meet the reduced price of gold, and the author predicted that many of these companies will completely stop their activities.
A report in the Sofokleousin considers at least strange the announcement of Eldorado Gold, with the excuse of the falling price of gold. The report states that the main source of income of the company in Halkidiki, is the exploitation (enrichment and sale) of the two tailings ponds with already mined reserves. The report estimates that this move sends a clear message, exposes the Prime Minister who came in direct conflict with local residents and disappoints the supporters of the investment.
Clearly, for companies like Eldorado Gold, profit is the only goal. Their investment plans as growth drivers of the economy – promoted at all costs and by governments – working conditions, society, environmental protection and restoration of damage, are only masks trying to cover their real target: maximum possible profit.
For residents of Halkidiki, this review of the production plan and the delay of the “investment”, does not mean in any way complacent. It is a serious development with ambiguous readings, and not only due to the price of gold. The company has already stopped many of its projects, due to law violations and after official complaints of residents. At the same time, the strong, durable and dynamic resistance of the residents creates serious problems for the company, which, in no way has ensured social consensus and social license in order to be able to operate in the region.
We continue our struggle against the destruction of our country, the rapacious exploitation of the environment and the violation of our rights. We remain vigilant and we demand:
immediate release of the four detainees who are unfairly imprisoned
revocation of license for the mining project
declassification the mining area
Because the value of our mountain is not measured by dollars per ounce …
Because human dignity is not dependent on the price of gold …
Because they speak of profits and losses, while we are talking about human lives …
We will win!