Gold Mine Stirs Hope and Anger in Greece (Reuters)
A Canadian companies plan to to mine for gold in the lush forests of northern Greece is testing the government’s resolve to prove Europe’s most ravaged economy is open for business. The Skouries mine on Halkidiki peninsula — a landscape of pristine beaches and rolling hills dotted with olive groves — is among the biggest investments in Greece since it sank into a debt crisis four years ago. But it now pits Greece’s desperate need to rebuild its economy against the interests of its vital tourism industry, and aroused anger on the peninsula — site of the famed Mount Athos monasteries — due to the environmental cost. Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold Corp (NYSE:EGO; TSE:ELD) took over the project in 2012 when it promised to invest $1 billion in the next five years as part of a plan to mine up to 30 percent of its global gold production in Greece. Yet preliminary work on the mine, which is supposed to open in 2016, has set off months of politicking and protests — ensnaring what was supposed to be the flagship project of the government’s foreign investment drive.