The July 5th decision signed by the Minister of Environment & Energy , Mr. Panos Skourletis to return the Technical Study for the Copper, Gold and Sulfuric Acid Metallurgy Unit of Madem Lakos to the company Hellas Gold (subsidiary of Eldorado Gold), is a decision in the right direction, by which it is proven in a scientific, detailed and comprehensive manner that the creation of a metallurgy unit, in the way proposed by the company, is not only unfeasible but also extremely dangerous for the environment and the lives of local communities.
Once again, it proven how right the social movement SOS Halkidiki has been for years -in light of testimonies of scientific bodies and independent scientists- to indicate the “deceit” of the metallurgic method of flash smelting, as well as of the investment plan as a whole, warning the Hellenic State and authorities of the destruction that will come about in Halkidiki, without there being in the end even the minimum of State benefit. In other words, to turn Northeastern Halkidiki into a massive tailings dam, without forests or water and without the possibility for another way of development, captive of the dogma “it will be done at any cost” and the deception by the company and its “scientists”. Who will be accountable for this crime?
The Technical Study of the Metallurgy Unit was returned because it is full of innacuracies and omissions, arbitrary and unscientific conclusions and global “originality” in the management of Arsenic and Sulfur Dioxide, as Hellas Gold claims -among other things- that:
- As to the Arsenic, it will manage quantities of 8-9% in the feed of the metallurgy process, while for the global mining industry the acceptable limit is 0,5%.
- As to the Sulfur Dioxide and the gasified Arsenic which will result from smelting, that it will manage huge quantities that no other metallurgy unit in the world has managed to date.
The omissions and inacuracies add to the recurring breaches of law and infringements of permits which have been certified by the findings of the Environmental Inspectors for which fines were issued, although -in respect to these infringements- no “Administrative acts” have been issued to date that will protect the environment and the health of both local communities and the company’s workforce.
It is worth noting that the Council of State has been irretrievably exposed by issues noted and questions asked by the Ministry, indicating that the tests carried out by Outotec with ore from Alumbria in Argentina -which the Council of State accepted as similar to the Skouries ore- should have been carried out on-site with ore from Skouries, in accordance with the permitting process provision. Because neither could the responsible Ministry Departments check the tests carried out by Outotec, nor was the ore from Argentina of the same composition with that of Skouries.
Also worth noting is the silencing of this latest development by almost all mass media outlets which throughout the previous period had taken upon themselves the support of Eldorado in an almost contractual manner.
We call upon the Greek State:
- To immediately stop all activities connected to the continuation of the company’s destructive “investment plan”, which create further faits accomplis and destruction.
- To immediately issue the Administrative acts which pertain to the certified findings of the Environmental Inspectors.
- To adequately staff the body of Environmental Inspectors and to carry out substantive inspections throughout the whole spectrum of activities of the mining project.
- To complete the steps to annul the sinful contract with Hellas Gold.
- To proceed to the restoration of the area, as well as its declassification as a mining area.
- To provide incentives to local communities for economic activities that will lead to a sustainable development of the area.
Coordinating Committee of Ierissos