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More than ten attacks on Hellas Gold Ltd. over the last year

18 February 2013 / 18:02:41  GRReporter
3517 reads

Victoria Mindova

Damage worth hundreds of millions is the result of the attack on the mining company Hellas Gold Ltd. in the Skouries area in the northeast part of Halkidiki, which was carried out over the weekend. Only one of the 33 detainees who were subsequently released had been arrested as he was supposed to have taken part in the armed attack on the facilities of the mining company. He is a 54-year-old resident of the area, whom eyewitnesses to the accident have identified. He was released after being charged with inciting and inflicting material damage.

"Between 40 and 50 armed and masked gunmen broke into the territory of Hellas Gold Ltd. in Halkidiki in the early hours of Sunday morning, shortly after 1 a.m.," the spokesman of the company Costas Georgantzis told GRReporter in a telephone conversation. The attackers were armed with carbines, rifles, flammable fluid and improvised Molotov bombs.

"They attacked the site guards, threw them onto the ground, sprayed them with gas and told them that they would burn them alive if they dared to resist," said Georgantzis. One of the guards is in hospital after being in shock from what had happened. He has flesh wounds without serious injury and his life is not in danger. After they rendered the guards inoffensive, the attackers divided into groups and set fire to all freight vehicles, lorries and buses used to transport the employees as well as to the containers used as temporary offices on site.

"The problem is that the equipment and vehicles that are burned belong to private contractors. These are ordinary people, who have invested serious money in equipment. The average value of the burned machines is between 70 and 100 thousand euro". Hellas Gold Ltd. is determined to try to recover the majority of the damage and seeks more serious protection from the law.

Costas Georgantzis stresses that this was not the first attack on sites owned by the company. Over the past year, similar accidents on a smaller scale have occurred almost every month. At various times, company buses, generators, equipment such as stone-crushers, tractors and other machinery has been attacked and burned. "This was the most serious attack of the many we have had so far and it is impossible for the public to not pay attention to the terrorist act," says the representative of the company.

The public of Halkidiki is divided into two opposing camps on the issue of the development of the deposits of gold and other metals in the area. Ecological organizations have been opposing the activities of Hellas Gold Ltd. for years. Left supporters have been seriously opposing the development of the project too by arguing that the concession is not good for the state. The families of more than 1,200 employees of the company who make their living from the operation of Eldorado Gold and its subsidiary Hellas Gold Ltd are on the other side.

According to recent data, the exchange value of the deposits in Halkidiki is approximately 20 billion euro. At a time when the government's privatization programme should be operated at full speed, the attack on the property of the entrepreneur is sending bad signals to potential investors. Hellas Gold Ltd. is clear, "We will not give up the investment in Halkidiki. We expect the Greek government to assume its responsibilities and provide us with the necessary protection against such terrorist attacks. We have all legal permits to operate and we do not intend to retreat".


Tags: SocietyCrime newsGold mineAttackGreeceHalkidiki
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