The contribution of mining to Greece’s economic growth and development has a history as old as the civilization itself. Since 1,000 B.C., Greeks have been using their mineral resources to build cities, establish trade networks and expand empires.
Revenues from the high-grade silver mines of Laurion, south of Athens in Attica, financed the emergence of Athens as a cultural, economic and military capital in the 5th Century B.C. Further north, the gold deposits of central Macedonia and Thrace funded Alexander the Great’s conquest east and the creation of an empire that, at its peak, stretched across three continents.
Today, the Olympias and Skouries mines that Eldorado Gold is developing in Halkidiki have the potential to make Greece a leading gold producer in Europe.
“The benefits these projects are estimated to generate for local communities, municipal and national governments and the Greek economy are significant ,” says Eduardo Moura, Vice President and General Manager of Eldorado’s operations in Greece. “With mine lives of approximately 25 years each, we see great potential for these projects to contribute to Greece over the long term.”
Here are five benefits Greece is already realizing from Eldorado’s investment in Halkidiki:
In a country where unemployment exceeds 23%, Eldorado has created more than 2,000 new jobs in the past five years. We are proud that 87% of our employees in Greece are hired from local communities.
We now have approximately 2,400 employees and contractors, and we estimate another 3,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created when Olympias and Skouries reach full production.
Employees take a break at our Olympias project.
2. Taxes and wages
Our projects have the potential to sustain generations of Greeks in family-supporting jobs. In the past three years, we have paid approximately US$100 million in employee wages and benefits. We estimate we will pay more than US$1.5 billion in salaries and benefits over the course of our operations.
In the same timeframe, we will also generate more than US$1 billion in taxes for the Greek government.
3. Community investment
Eldorado currently contributes about €3 million annually to local infrastructure improvements, healthcare accessibility and civil services. Eldorado’s support has helped build new water supply networks, repave roads, update biological treatment plants, and rejuvenate local spaces. Eldorado also supports the Paleohori Healthcare Centre in Halkidiki. Contributions have helped modernise facilities and equipment and with other day-to-day operating costs.
We estimate Olympias and Skouries could contribute approximately US$80 million towards local community and infrastructure projects over the course of their 25 year mine lives.
Greek Orthodox Church in the village of Paleohori, Greece
4. FDI revenues
With foreign direct investment (FDI) in Greece 57% lower in 2015 versus 2014, Eldorado’s projects are a valuable source of revenue for the Country. In 2015, our investment of more than US$200 million accounted for almost 20% of FDI in Greece. (FDI in Greece in 2015 was US$1.1 billion according to the OECD).
With plans to invest over US$1 billion in the 25 years Olympias and Skouries will be in operation, Eldorado will continue to be one of the larger foreign investors in Greece.
5. Export revenues
Greek exports will also be positively impacted by the metals mined from Olympias, Skouries and Stratoni. When in full production, annual export revenues of approximately US$450 million per year (depending on metal prices) would help Greece to pay for the goods and services it currently imports. Mineral exports will also help to reduce Greece’s current trade deficit.
Stratoni processing and export facility