Gold mines in the north of Greece could open the floodgates to harvesting more than $26 billion in gold, creating up to 1,500 badly-needed jobs, and improving the country’s reeling economy.
The mining effort would be spearheaded by Hellas Gold S.A., largely owned by Canada’s Eldorado Gold Corp. (TSX: ELD). Just 5 percent is owned by Greek company Aktor. Foreign investment would also contribute toward improving Greece’s economy, but it is likely that the profits would head for Canada while the Greeks get hit with the clean-up bill.
And the environmental cost is likely to be very high. An open-pit mining effort on the Halkidiki peninsula, for example, is likely to wreck the fragile biodiversity of the region.
From Mother Nature Network:
“This will be a business for 10, maybe 15 years, and then this company will just disappear, leaving all the pollution behind,” local hotel owner Christos Adamidis told The New York Times. “If the price of gold drops, it might not even last that long. And in the meantime, the dust this will create will be killing off the leaves. There will be no goats or olives or bees here.”
There have been protests in Greece over this contentious issue in the past. Last November, for example, some 3,000 people protested the Halkidiki gold mine project. It appears public sentiment is firmly against operations that would seek to restore the economy at the expense of Greece’s environment.
On the other hand, if the Hellas mine begins to produce, then Greece stands to become one of the largest gold producers in Europe over the next four years. And Eldorado’s stock has already gone up ever since it started speaking about the project.