The firm involved in the contentious Skouries gold mining project in Halkidiki, northern Greece, indicated on Tuesday that it might abandon the scheme in the wake of strong protest by locals and environmental groups.
Speaking at a news conference in Athens, the managing director of Hellas Gold, Petros Stratoudakis, questioned whether Greece could provide what is needed for the project to succeed. “The question is whether, as a country, we will create a clean and methodical environment for investors,” he said. “If this is possible, then the company will stay. The country and the government is pursuing investments but I have doubts about whether it can handle investments, especially ones of this size.”
Hellas Gold, which is 95 percent-owned by Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold, claims that the Skouries mine would provide 1.6 billion euros in tax revenues over the next two decades and directly or indirectly create 5,000 jobs.
Both claims are strongly disputed by protesters, who argue that the company was given a huge tract of public land for just 11 million euros. They also claim the mine will destroy Skouries forest and put at risk their economic well-being by damaging the area’s potential to attract visitors. They have also raised concerns about the health implications for locals.