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Greece: Locals continue to protest over environmental & social impacts of Eldorado Gold's mine in Halkidiki – company response provided

Hellas Gold is a Greek mining company 95% owned by Canadian company Eldorado Gold.  Since 2003, Hellas Gold holds the rights to the Cassandra Mines, including an open-pit gold mine in Skouries, located on the Halkidiki peninsula in Northern Greece.  Eldorado took over operations in February 2012 and tensions have arisen with the local community relating to lack of adequate consultation, economic and environmental concerns as well as perceived social impact.

Local communities and civil society have raised concerns about the impact of these operations on ground water, noting that the mines will require vast deforestation and that the proposed Skouries mine is above the region’s main aquifer.  Moreover, locals argue that the operations would have negative impacts on traditional economic including beekeeping, farming, fishery, forestry and tourism, affecting local peoples’ livelihoods.

Protesters from local communities have alleged mistreatment by local police and private security including allegations of false arrests, violence, and excessive force on various occasions.  Amnesty International has called on the Greek government to investigate police conduct in response to protests against the mines.  Recently, local civil society has raised alarm that the government is using an “anti-mafia law” to arrest and detain protesters on supposedly arbitrary grounds, thus criminalising civil resistance to the mines.

Eldorado Gold had previously issued a "Fallacies and facts" document and a "Whitepaper" on its operations in Greece.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Eldorado Gold and Hellas Gold to respond to the following items regarding the allegations:

Company responses

Eldorado Gold sent the following response (also on behalf of Hellas Gold):

[DOC] Eldorado Gold response

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Article
22 October 2013

Greece: Locals continue to protest over environmental & social impacts of Eldorado Gold's mine in Halkidiki, raise concerns about arbitrary arrests & excessive force by police

Author: Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Eldorado Gold and Hellas Gold to respond. Joint response provided.] Hellas Gold is a Greek mining company 95% owned by Canadian company Eldorado Gold...Local communities and civil society have...

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Company response
22 October 2013

Response by Eldorado Gold: Local protests over environmental & social impacts of Eldorado Gold's mine in Halkidiki continue

Read full response

Company response
22 October 2013

Response by Hellas Gold (part of Eldorado Gold): Local protests over environmental & social impacts of Eldorado Gold's mine in Halkidiki continue.

Read full response