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The hidden treasure of Greece – precious metals and mineral resources

23 April 2012 / 00:04:22  GRReporter
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The metallurgical and mining industry today are among the most dynamic and export-oriented sectors of the Greek economy, contributing about 5% of the GDP and providing employment for 80,000 people. Major Greek companies at the top of the industry also at a global level have steady presence and strong positions.


World power in metallurgy

The determination and business acumen of Michalis Stasinopoulos created the consortium «Viochalko», the largest metallurgical consortium in Greece with strong presence also abroad. It was founded in 1937 and the first factory produced pipes, household articles and plumbing parts. When the Greek-Italian war started it was turned into a military factory, producing new cartridges from empty cartridge cases. Such a possibility had never existed before in Greece and thus the plant contributed to the fight of the country. In order to keep up with the production of munitions, the factory worked day and night without interruption having four shifts, even on Sunday.

During the Occupation (from 1941 to 1944) the plant was closed. It resumed its activities in 1946. In 1947 the company was listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. Today the consortium owns about 80 companies, 6 of which (Elval, Chalkor, Sidenor, "Greek cables", ΕΤΕΜ and "Pipes" - Corinth) are listed on the Stock Exchange and it employs over 8000 people. The consortium is export oriented (exporting to over 60 countries), and as a result its turnover generated abroad exceeds that generated within the country. Its total turnover for the financial year 2011 amounted to 3.53 billion euro, an increase of 19.5% as compared to the same period of 2010. The total profit reached 176.6 million euro, an increase of 11.34% as compared to 2010.

«S & B Industrial Minerals»

Focus on exports

By the first half of the 20th century, the mineral-rich subsoil of Greece remained unused because mining companies had been more involved with the extraction of natural minerals rather than in their processing and enrichment. Thus, unprocessed raw materials were exported overseas, where they were converted into goods which Greece subsequently bought at high prices. It is precisely this situation that Evripidis Mavromatis, Ilias Iliopoulos, George Iliopoulos and Athanasios Iliopoulos wanted to change in 1934 when they founded the company "Silver and Minerals & Varitinis» (Α&B) in Milos and «ΑΕΜ Bauxite - Parnassos" in Phocis, which is the predecessor of "S & B Industrial minerals". Today, "S & B Industrial minerals" has a leading position in the sectors in which it operates (bentonite, perlite, bauxite and casting fluxes for metals) and it also maintains a significant presence abroad. It owns 46 factories and mills for processing, 26 mines and 26 distribution centres in 26 countries. It sells its production in 75 countries on all five continents and provides employment for nearly 2000 people. In 2011 the total sales of the consortium registered an increase of 8.5 percent as compared with 2010. They amounted to 455.7 million euro, while the net profit has increased by 57%, reaching 20.6 million euro.

t increased its sales despite the crisis

This is one of the largest private industrial complexes for the production of complete aluminum profile systems in Europe. The consortium "Alumil" has 29 subsidiaries, 21 of which are located abroad (Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East) and its production facilities are located in the northern Greek cities of Kilkis, Serres, Komotini, Xanthi, as well as in Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. In 2011, despite the decrease on the local market, it managed to increase its sales and profitability. The dream of the management is for "Alumil" to be the best, cutting-edge, innovative consortium in its industry, focusing on man and on the environment.

The first cement plant in Greece

With over a century of existence and exactly 100 years of being listed on the board of the Athens Stock Exchange, the cement plant «Titan» supports industrial and commercial presence in 13 countries and it provides employment for nearly 5800 people.

The company is structured into four geographic areas: Greece and Western Europe, USA, Southeast Europe and Eastern Mediterranean. In 2011, it sold 15.3 million tons of cement and related materials, 3.7 million cubic metres of ready-mixed concrete, 10.9 million tons of aggregates and various other building materials.

Deposits in the subsoil of Greece

Stocks for over 28 billion euro

Greece is one of the richest in deposits regions in Europe, both in terms of quality and quantity. According to the Institute of Geological and mining operations, the total deposits of minerals in the subsoil of Greece exceed 28 billion euro, and this figure does not include deposits of hydrocarbons. Moreover, with regard to gold, studies show that the alleged quantities amount to 8.5 million ounces, while those of silver - 65 million ounces.

It has been estimated that the exploitation of the confirmed deposits of gold and silver in northern Greece alone could make the country one of the largest producers of precious metals in the European Union. As market analysts pointed out, the opportunities and prospects in the industry can now be utilized even better since recently the Ministry of Environment and Energy announced that cross-party support has been achieved for national policies relating to the exploitation of mineral resources.

In any case, the conditions remain favourable, as demand for minerals will continue to increase over the coming years, mainly due to increased consumption in the emerging economies such as China, India, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Russia. Today the mining industry holds a special place in the Greek economy, and companies that operate in this sector have a leading position at a European and international level.

Boost for export

President of the Hellenic Association of Exporters Christina Sakelaridi has recognized the contribution of the mining industry in the country's export and also in the prospects that exist in this area. She emphasized that while "Greece's ability to produce has often been called into question and many have underestimated the competitive advantages of the country in terms of air, land, subsoil and sea, Greece produces high quality products through innovation and high qualifications. The country is third in the world in terms of aluminum production. It is also first in the European Union in the production of bauxite, which in addition to energy production is also used in dozens of industrial goods. Furthermore, it has unique deposits of magnesite and nickel".

Tags: mineral resources mining industry precious metals metallurgy
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