Home Eldorado Gold Take our mountain…please #skouries

Take our mountain…please #skouries


Posted by Skopelosnews

2rainy6mar15-copy[the above photo, used to illustrate this post, was made yesterday]
With apologies to Henny Youngman, we look today at the unpleasant situation in Skouries, Halkidiki.

Imagine that your visual environment changes permanently, things that you are used to viewing disappear.
Not by someone building a structure which spoils your view (which is awful), but by the alteration of the landscape on such a massive scale that mountains, those immovable objects, are taken down and dumped elsewhere.

Imagine Granddad describing the view from Skopelos port to his grandchildren, “And over there, where the flat plain is now, there used to be a mountain. Someone found ore over there”.

When we travel to Volos we see that gleaming white rock mountain being taken down piece by piece for its marble. The approaches to Delphi are marred by the mining of bauxite from the neighboring mountains.

Up in Halkidiki (40°28′20.60″N 23°42′11.70″E), mountains are being taken down by Eldorado Gold, a gold and copper extraction company using the “technique” of strip mining. Strip mining is the least expensive method of collecting and processing ore. The earth collected is dumped in man-made lakes which are then filled with liquid cyanide. Cyanide is capable of separating the gold from other earthbound minerals. The operation is dependent on water resources, either local or transported. The collected earth from a “good” goldmine contains between 1mg/kilo and 5mg/kilo of gold, so a massive amount of earth must be processed to make the operation viable. There goes your mountain.

Skouries site Halkidiki

What concerns many people opposed to the operation is the public health and environmental impact of this process. Even if, by some collection of manufactured Parliamentary by-laws, the operation is legal (and there are many questions) what happens afterwards? There are techniques for rendering the liquid by-products less lethal but all that liquid has to go somewhere. The mass of leftover earth is put in piles or attempts are made to put it back from where it came. The cyanide lakes are drained and carried away somewhere.

Stratoni site Halkidiki

There is massive public opposition to the Halkidiki operation.

Some readers may remember that the 11.5 m boat GranmarX out of Thessaloniki, one of the contenders in the Aegean Cup sailing races of 2013, was asked by the race committee to take down the banner “No to gold, Yes to life” during the regatta.

skouries site Halkidiki


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