Skouries forest gold mining

Skouries gold mine

Skouries gold mine

Across the world are conflict zones, they resemble war zones, only they are not, these are conflict zones where ordinary citizens find themselves in conflict with extractive industry, oil, fracking, mining.

One such conflict zone is the Skouries forest near Ierissos, where a Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold wishes to clear cut an old growth forest, open cast mining for gold and copper, vast tailings ponds.

It had met with local opposition, and brutal repression by the State.

Unprovoked chemical attacks on civilians, 3am raids on houses and violent police attacks on peacefully demonstrating women. You’re excused for thinking this is Syria or even Peru or Turkey, but this is about a hidden war in Europe in the North-East of Greece. Hellas Gold, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company El Dorado Corp, backed by the state security forces, has turned the area around Halkidiki into a police state. The region has recently seen indiscriminate arrests of residents (including school children), criminalization of a peaceful social struggle and a baby hospitalized following a home search by police using teargas.

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein describes visiting Skouries forest as akin to visiting a war zone.

The area is an unspoilt, popular with tourists.

The mining operation, would not only clear fell the forest, pollute the land and water, it would destroy the local tourist and fishing industry.

It was one of many unpopular projects pushed through by the corrupt political elite overthrown by Syriza last weekend. A classic example of Greek corruption.

The corrupt political elite also wanted to develop protected beaches drill for oil and gas in the pristine Aegean and Ionian Seas.

The corrupt political elite saw Skouries as a symbol that Greece was open for business.

Extractive industries have no future, boom followed by bust, leaving behind devastated landscape.

Farming, fishing, tourism, if properly managed, are sustainable.

One of the promises of Syriza, was that if elected, they would cancel the Eldorado Gold project.

Synchronicity: As I write news came though, Syriza has kept their promise, the hated project has been cancelled.

Now Syriza needs to disband the hated riot police.

Eldorado Gold should be forced to make the tailings ponds safe, to pay for a clean up, and to place money in trust to deal with any future environments disasters.

The corrupt political elite who placed the Eldorado Gold contract, should face criminal prosecution.

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