The Canadian state through its embassy in Athens constantly support the mining corporation Eldorado Gold, responsible for mass destruction of the natural habitat at Chalkidiki region and other places in north Greece. The mining activities destroy aging forests and pollute the earth and water.
The mining industry, and in particular mining operations around the world, are one of the most profitable and at the same time shadow industries. Mining companies are by nature two levels on the scale of exploitation by joint ventures, because in addition to gaining surplus value from the workers, public wealth is harvested from the subsoil of the sites that are active to sell it as theirs, leaving behind dead land. There are many examples of mining companies that left behind huge environmental disasters, dissolved local societies and irreparable damage to human health. For example, the chemical contamination in the Baia Mare mine in Romania by AURUL or the enormous environmental disaster caused by MARCOPPER in the Philippines. In this context, an extraction could not be an exception in Greece. It is no coincidence that economically weak and corrupt countries are a good ground for such investments as they are more vulnerable to the elasticisation of their environmental legislation and the need for work makes workers easy prey to identify themselves with the interests of companies and to turn into their defenders by forgetting their class position.
In the 2000s, Bobolas and the PASOK government took part in one of the biggest scandals of recent years, that of the mines of Halkidiki. In 2003, the Greek state buys Cassandra mines from Canadian TVX and on the same day it transfers them without the planned open tender to Hellenic Gold SA for 11 million euros. Ellinikos Xrysos was founded 3 days before the acquisition of TVX and with a share capital of 60,000 euros (the smallest possible for AE), with the main shareholders also the Canadian European Goldfields and the Hellenic interests of Bobola. This dark contract transferred a mountain of ores worth 22 billion euros, mines, industrial buildings, offices, factories, mechanical equipment, homes, mining of ores and exemption from any responsibility for the protection of the environment. Interesting in the case is that a few years after the transfer, the commission found that this agreement was granted unlawful State aid of EUR 15,400,000 in favor of Hellenic Gold and forced it to repay this amount plus interest to the state. The even more interesting thing is that the then Minister, G. Papaconstantinou, denied this amount and, together with Bhopal, appealed to the European Court against the decision. In 2011, with the licensing of mining, a third Canadian company, Eldorado gold, absorbs European goldfields and acquires 95% of Greek gold. Unlawful state aid of € 15,400,000 was granted to Hellenic Gold and forced it to repay this amount plus interest to the state. The even more interesting thing is that the then Minister, G. Papaconstantinou, denied this amount and, together with Bhopal, appealed to the European Court against the decision.
It is worth mentioning that while in other countries states are taxing mining companies very high and in some cases sometimes demanding a proportion of the mined metals, Greek Gold is taxed on net profits, even from the production stage of pure metals, which the company from the beginning was not meant to do because the proposed method cannot be applied. As expected, the company declares a minus fund and is therefore not taxed. It is also known how the profits of the company through labyrinthine routes end up in companies in the Netherlands and enjoy Barbey island taxes.
Mining in Chalkidiki is a huge project, at the level of investment, spatial and social size and profit for the company. At the same time, it is one of the biggest scandals in recent years, and it has not taken on the proportions it has, such as Vatopedi, SIEMENS or the armaments, although it has nothing to envy, neither in sums nor in the interplay of politicians, contractors, international business giants.
We were particularly pleased with MEGA’s Hollywood reports, which incidentally belonged to Bhopal, for hours to play the protest of 300 metal miners while in Thessaloniki 10,000 people demonstrated against mining. But apart from interweaving, bots and contracts, the epitome of exploitation and looting is the destruction of the environment. Only about 500,000 dusts per hour will be emitted from the rock drilling and explosion areas. This powder contains arsenic, asbestos, lead and other heavy metals and moves from area to area at great speeds through the air, polluting the atmosphere, water, and plants.
Gold is only a stock market value, with no usability, with only 10% of the mined product being used in technology. Its extraction could be avoided, since recycling of already mined gold could cover global needs for many years without even altering the properties of the metal. With the predatory agreement of selling the mines to Hellenic gold, it was public mineral wealth, without any kind of benefit to society, while the state reiterated its consistent practice of exempting companies from established damages and unlawful acts. We have been monitoring the state, over the last 15 years, in co-operation with the Supreme Courts, to facilitate the company with photographic laws and licensing, and to keep a viewer on the continuing illegality. We have watched the company lose any credibility to comply with its approved studies and obligations, especially since it has been released in advance for the environmental damage it will cause. All this, coupled with the inability of control mechanisms, makes the last of the natives aware of the upcoming huge catastrophe that will change the map of the entire region.
The “tradition” of the people in the mining has “delivered tradition” and the movement against it. For the last 40 years, since the Bodossakis era, a multiform movement has called for mobilization and conflict, has endured persecution and imprisonment and has reached academic writing and scientific studies against media propaganda. The radicalization of these societies shows that when capital pillages nature and hence our own lives it will find them in front of it “from the bottom”. Capital is plundering workers, nature and animals. The state is always there to lay back, money and brush. The duty of our class is to send them to the crutch.
Many of the mining companies operating worldwide are based in Canada and three of them are involved in gold mining in Halkidiki. Canadian embassies around the world systematically defend the Canadian mines to blackmail governments to accept mining threatening to disrupt relations between countries. The examples are many. From Chiapas to Mexico and Guatemala, where the embassies supported companies that had their activist killings in their resume, to Honduras, where the Canadian embassy forcibly pressed the government to pass a bill favorable to miners despite the opposite public opinion.
State and capital will always be mutually supportive and will always find us opposite.
Anarchist collectivity of Rubikon