Exxon confirms interest in Greece

ExxonMobil’s interest in Greek hydrocarbons was confirmed in meetings on Friday that representatives of the oil multinational had in Athens with Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and leading Greek government officials.

Representatives of France’s Total, which is ELPE’s partner in the concession of Block 2 in the Ionian Sea, also attended the meetings with ELPE, Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis.

ExxonMobil officials had traveled to Athens to confirm their participation in the Ionian concessions through acquiring a stake in ELPE, and also to sign a strategic cooperation agreement for a joint claim on other areas of the country that could hold large quantities of hydrocarbons, with the sea off Crete being a priority.

The US oil giant appears to have already reached an agreement with ELPE and Total, and its objective on Friday was to sound out the government regarding its support for the program to utilize the country’s hydrocarbon reserves, which is vital for ExxonMobil before it advances to the agreement-signing stage.

Sources say ExxonMobil will expand its plans to creating a joint venture with ELPE – with the US firm acting as the operator – through which other possible blocks will be targeted.

source: Chryssa Laggou,  ekathimerini.com

Read more

5 economic benefits of gold mining investment in Greece

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:

1. Jobs

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

source: http://blog.eldoradogold.com

 

Read more

Eupalinos Tunnel, a Masterpiece of Ancient Engineering Opens to Public

The Tunnel of Eupalinos, one of the most extraordinary monuments of craftmanship and construction (1,036 metres carved inside the mountain that towers over the town of Pythagorio on Samos) will be very soon accessible.

The Culture Ministry announced that the main part of the maintenance, restoration and promotion project of the Eupaline Tunnel that was approved by the Ministry, namely the tunnel in which were the clay water pipes. “The acquaintance with the Eupaline Tunnel is a life experience,” said Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou.

The Eupalinian aqueduct was designed and built in 550 BC by the engineer Eupalinos from Megara when Samos was ruled by tyrant Polycrates. It continued to supply the ancient town of Pythagorio with fresh water for 1,100 years. Eupalinos used what are now well-known principles of geometry, which were codified by Euclid several centuries later. With a length of 1,036 metres (3,399 ft), the Eupalinian subterranean aqueduct is famous today as one of the masterpieces of ancient engineering.

Eupalinos used mathematics and geometry not only to align the excavations before they met, but also to “manipulate” the alignment of the tunnel in order to avoid adverse geological conditions. Mutatis mutandis, the basic principle behind the method of Eupalinos, has been used again long after the Renaissance of Europe (early 18th century), and it is still in use in modern tunneling.

The Eupalinian aqueduct or ditch, is cited by Herodotus (Histories 3.60), without whom it would not have been discovered.

In 1992, the Eupalinian ditch was included in UNESCO’s world cultural heritage list.
(source: ana-mpa)

Read more

Greece to sell coal-fired plants, mines as part of bailout deal

Greece will sell its coal-fired plants and coal mines equal to about 40% of its dominant power utility Public Power Corp’s (PPC) coal-fired capacity, as part of a reform deal the government reached with its foreign creditors.

Athens needs the funds urgently, as it needs to repay 7.5 billion euros in debt maturing in July.
The move aims at opening the energy market in Greece, which is second only to Germany in terms of lignite coal production in the European Union.

Athens will begin testing the waters for such sale in November, with the goal of wrapping up the sale by June 2018, a government official told Reuters.

The government needs the funds urgently, as it needs to repay 7.5 billion euros in debt maturing in July.

Coal is currently Greece’s single most important local energy source, according to World Energy Council and PPC is the nation’s largest producer of the fossil fuel, with the right to exploit 63% of known reserves.

The state-own company is also the country’s main electricity provider, producing 95% of Greece’s total electricity supply.

Cecilia Jamasmie, 2/5/2017, http://www.mining.com

Read more

Eldorado Reports Olympias Phase II Improved Concentrate Sales Terms and Commissioning on Track

VANCOUVER, March 28, 2017 /CNW/ – Eldorado Gold Corporation, (“Eldorado” or “the Company”) today reported that it has received multiple tenders for significantly better concentrate sales terms at Olympias Phase II (“Phase II”), where wet commissioning at the project is currently underway.

Improved Concentrate Sales Terms
The Company is pleased to announce that it has received multiple tenders for significantly better concentrate sales terms for material produced beyond 2017. Under the new sales terms, gold payability rates have increased from 58% up to a maximum of 71%, which is expected to result in an increase of approximately 15,000 ounces of payable gold production per year.  Annual Phase II production is now estimated to be approximately 85,000 ounces of gold (from 72,000 ounces per year previously) plus approximately 55,000 ounces of gold equivalent production.

Commissioning
The construction of Phase II is substantially complete and commissioning has commenced. Addition of low grade ore to the crushing circuit is expected next week. Pre-commissioning of the main flotation plant equipment is underway and ore will be introduced in April. Deliveries of first-fill reagents, grinding media, critical and operational spares are on schedule to support second quarter pre-commercial production.

Underground
Mined ore has been moved to the surface stockpile adjacent to the crusher for commissioning of the processing facility. Underground development is well positioned to support 2017 production guidance with fourteen stopes in ore on nine different levels complete and ready for extraction. Ore mining will begin shortly in both the east and west ore zones using a drift-and-fill mining method.

Phase II Overview
Phase II involves processing ore from the underground at a rate of approximately 400,000 tonnes per year. The new processing facility includes new processing equipment within the pre-existing plant building to produce three concentrates: lead-silver, zinc and gold bearing pyrite-arsenopyrite.  In 2017, the Olympias mine is budgeted to process 267,000 tonnes of ore at grades of 9.6 grams per tonne gold, 3.4% lead, 3.4% zinc and 105 grams per tonne silver.

Paul Skayman, Eldorado’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “After a lot of hard work by our team in Greece, we are all very excited to now be at this juncture with commissioning and we expect to declare commercial production from Olympias Phase II in the third quarter”.

About Eldorado Gold
Eldorado is a leading low cost gold producer with mining, development and exploration operations in Turkey, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Brazil.  The Company’s success to date is based on a low cost strategy, a highly skilled and dedicated workforce, safe and responsible operations, and long-term partnerships with the communities where it operates.  Eldorado’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: ELD) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: EGO).

Cautionary Note about Forward-looking Statements and Information

Certain of the statements made and information provided in this press release are forward-looking statements or information within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws. Often, these forward-looking statements and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects”,  “is expected”, “budget”, “continue”, “projected”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates”, or “believes” or the negatives thereof or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved.

Forward-looking statements or information contained in this release include, but are not limited to the Company’s Reported Olympias Phase II Improved Concentrate Sales Terms and Commissioning on Track, including statements or information with respect to: our guidance and outlook, including expected production, projected cash cost, our expectation as to our future financial and operating performance, including estimated cash costs, expected metallurgical recoveries, gold price outlook and our strategy, plans and goals, including our proposed development, construction, permitting and operating plans and priorities, and related timelines.

Forward-looking statements and forward-looking information by their nature are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. 

We have made certain assumptions about the forward-looking statements and information, including assumptions about the geopolitical, economic, permitting and legal climate that we operate in; the future price of gold and other commodities; exchange rates; anticipated costs and expenses; production, mineral reserves and resources and metallurgical recoveries, the impact of acquisitions, dispositions, suspensions or delays on our business and the ability to achieve our goals.  In particular, except where otherwise stated, we have assumed a continuation of existing business operations on substantially the same basis as exists at the time of this release.

Even though our management believes that the assumptions made and the expectations represented by such statements or information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that the forward-looking statement or information will prove to be accurate. Many assumptions may be difficult to predict and are beyond our control.  

Furthermore, should one or more of the risks, uncertainties or other factors materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in forward-looking statements or information.  These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others, the following:  geopolitical and economic climate (global and local), risks related to mineral tenure and permits; gold and other metal price volatility; mining operational and development risk; foreign country operational risks; risks of sovereign investment; regulatory environment and restrictions, including environmental regulatory restrictions and liability; discrepancies between actual and estimated production, mineral reserves and resources and metallurgical recoveries; risks related to impact of the sale of our Chinese assets on the Company’s operations; additional funding requirements; currency fluctuations; litigation risks; community and non-governmental organization actions; speculative nature of gold exploration; dilution; share price volatility; competition; loss of key employees; and defective title to mineral claims or property, as well as those factors discussed in the sections entitled “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk factors in our business” in the Company’s  most recent Annual Information Form & Form 40-F. The reader is directed to carefully review the detailed risk discussion in our most recent Annual Information Form filed on SEDAR under our Company name, which discussion is incorporated by reference in this release, for a fuller understanding of the risks and uncertainties that affect the Company’s business and operations.

There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements or information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.  Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements or information contained herein.  Except as required by law, we do not expect to update forward-looking statements and information continually as conditions change and you are referred to the full discussion of the Company’s business contained in the Company’s reports filed with the securities regulatory authorities in Canada and the U.S.

Except as otherwise noted, scientific and technical information contained in this press release was reviewed and approved by Paul Skayman, FAusIMM, Chief Operating Officer for Eldorado Gold Corporation, and a “qualified person” as defined by Canadian Securities Administrators’ National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”).

SOURCE Eldorado Gold Corporation

Mar 28, 2017

Read more

Building a gold mining industry in Greece

The European Union (EU) is one of the world’s largest consumers of raw materials. Yet despite having areas of vast mineral wealth, few are developed and valuable resources (estimated to be worth about €100 billion!) remain in the ground. As a result, the EU has a raw material shortage and it imports nearly 60% of the bulk metals it uses.

In terms of gold, the EU accounted for only 2% of the world’s gold production in 2015. At Eldorado Gold, we are working to grow this percentage and help reduce the EU’s reliance on more expensive imports.

The World Gold Council estimates a single mobile device contains up to 50 milligrams of gold. At a gold price of $1,200 per ounce, that’s almost US$2 per phone!

 

A Greek gold mining renaissance

Together with our Greek subsidiary, Hellas Gold, we are at the forefront of building a leading gold mining jurisdiction in northern Greece. The Skouries and Olympias assets we are developing will help to make Greece one of the largest gold producing nations in the EU.

“We see huge potential to build long-term opportunities,” says Eduardo Moura, our Vice President and General Manager of Greece operations. “These mines are creating jobs, improving local infrastructure, paying taxes and generating export revenues.”

Eldorado’s Greek assets lie in the Western Tethyan Belt, a prospective belt of rocks in eastern Europe often described as “overlooked,” “under-explored” and “highly prospective.” Together, the Skouries and Olympias deposits hold a proven and probable reserve base of 7.8 million ounces of gold among significant amounts of other metals.

 

Committed to responsible gold mining

Greece has a rich history of mining. The gold deposits of northern Greece funded Alexander the Great’s conquests and an empire that, at its peak, stretched across three continents. But Greece’s significant mineral endowment, particularly its gold resources, has largely gone undeveloped in modern times.

“All eyes are on us to demonstrate that mining can be done responsibly, with utmost care for the safety and security of our people, our neighbours and the environment,” says Paul Wright, Eldorado’s President and CEO. “Ensuring people understand our approach, our commitment to community benefits and sustainable mining practices, takes time, patience and a lot of dialogue.”

Our Chief Operating Officer, Paul Skayman echoes this sentiment. “It is important for us to get these projects done right or we won’t be welcome to work in Greece, or anywhere else for that matter, for long.”

Eldorado’s commitment to excellence means local communities and host nations benefit from our:

  • use of industry best practices;
  • strict adherence to safety and environmental regulations;
  • maintaining systems to identify, manage, audit and remedy potential impacts; and
  • commitment to building vibrant communities near our sites.

See how we put our promises into practice from exploration to mine closure in our stories on our website.

Read more

The way for hydrocarbon prospecting in Western Greece is opened

The way is opened for the ratification by the Parliament and the activation of the contracts regarding hydrocarbon prospecting in the regions of Aitoloakarnania and of Northwestern Peloponnese, as the ministry of Environment and Energy approved last Thursday the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment of the prospecting in the two regions.


For NW Peloponnese, Hellenic Petroleum has been declared as “selected applicant”, as has been Energean for Aitoloakarnania (Hellenic Petroleum has been declared as “selected applicant” for the Arta-Preveza region also that has been included in the same tender and for which Energean had also submitted a tender file). After the approval by the ministry, the control of the contract by the Court of Auditors is expected to proceed.

The area which is under concession in NW Peloponnese is of 3,778.3 square kilometers and includes parts of the Regional Units of Achaia, Arcadia and Ilia, while in Aitoloakarnania the respective area is 4,360.3 square kilometers, mainly in the Regional Unit of Aitoloakarnania and partly in the one of Evritania.
The approval decisions include a series of measures for the protection of the environment in the aforementioned areas. For example, it is provided to maintain a protection zone of 350 meters from the coastline and 300 meters from each side of the basic hydrographic network of the area in SW Peloponnese (500 meters in Aitoloakarnania) within which it will not be allowed to site drillings for research, development and production, or processing or storage facilities, while the passing through of pipelines must also be minimized. Furthermore, there are protection measures for the areas that are visited by wild endemic and migratory fauna species, and it is also provided that the research and prospecting works are avoided in tourist coastal areas during summer.

 

Source: ANA-MPA, March 05, 2017

Read more

Where are the country’s gold reserves stored?

Where are the country’s gold reserves stored?

This question is answered by the “Kathimerini” newspaper in one of its articles, according to which, the reserves are stored in safe depots in Greece and abroad.

More particularly, approximately 50% of the reserves are stored in a treasury of the Bank of Greece and the rest 50%, at the Bank of England, at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the U.S.A. and in Switzerland.

In more detail they are divided as follows: 29% in the U.S.A., 20% in the United Kingdom, 4% in Switzerland and 47% in Greece, securing thus the coverage of national needs in possible exceptional circumstances while the storage of part of the country’s gold abroad consists an international practice for almost all of the Central Banks. Therefore, this is not an original practice.

“According to the most recent data of the Bank of Greece, the current needs in gold of Greece are about 149.1 tons and their value amounts to 5,261.8 million Euros. As is ascertained by executives of the supervisory authority, in the last years there has been no change in the quantity of gold, with the exception of a small fluctuation due to transactions with the public regarding the trade of gold sovereigns”, as is mentioned in the article.

Another interesting detail, as is pointed out, is the fact that, according to the balance sheet items of the Bank of Greece, “the amount of gold that has been transferred to the European Central Bank, after the country’s accession to the Eurozone and the participation of the Bank of Greece to the Eurosystem, is very small compared to the total gold reserves”.

A similar transfer has been performed by every country that participates to the Eurozone. The decision of the Bank of Greece in 2003 to sell 20 tons of gold of its reserves was part of the more efficient management of its portfolio, a policy that was pursued by most of the European Central Banks. This liquidation just led to a differentiation of the portfolio of the Bank of Greece and regarded part of the quantity of gold that has been collected by the currency markets”.

It is also interesting that, since 2000, the Bank of Greece has converted its reserves into gold bars that follow international standards, in order to make their management easier.

Of course, as it is remarked in “Kathimerini”, “the stories about our country’s gold reserves are many. The most famous, however, is the one that has to do with February 1941, when the management of the Bank of Greece has managed, in a reckless action, to load the valuable reserves it had on vessels of the Hellenic Navy, in order to transport them secretly to its branch of Heraklion, Crete. A few days before the entry of the German troops into Athens, in April 1941, the governor of the Bank of Greece Kyriakos Varvaresos and deputy governor Georgios Mantzavinos abandoned, along with the political leadership, the capital of Greece, going to Crete. Subsequently, the management and the gold were transferred to Cairo and short afterwards the transfer of the gold reserves to Pretoria was deemed appropriate. Thus, the mortgage for the future reconstitution of the drachma was registered. Finally, after a “stopover” in London, the gold reserves returned to Greece after the war”.

 

Published: HuffPost Greece 05/03/2017  Source:  Kathimerini
 

 

Read more

Greek factories still awaiting promised revival

Among the promises that propelled leftist SYRIZA to power two years ago was a commitment to revive domestic industry. Even after the government signed Greece’s third bailout agreement in the summer of 2015, the promises kept coming thick and fast. The deputy industry minister at the time, Theodora Tzakri, even drafted a plan for the industrial revival that foresaw the return to operation of 166 shuttered factories.

Two years on, the record of the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition in industry is negligible at best. According to 2016 data from the Labor Ministry’s Ergani database for employment, four of the five activities with the most negative net employment balance in the past year have been in the industrial sector: the food industry, mining and quarrying, specialized construction activities, and non-mineral product manufacturing.

Among the cases that the government cited – and invested heavily from a communications standpoint – was Shelman wood product manufacturer, United Textiles and Hellenic Fertilizers (ELFE). In all these cases, the harsh reality remains far removed from the government’s promises.

United Textiles has been bankrupt since 2012. The company’s resurrection faced a number of legal and financial obstacles, yet this did not prevent Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government from announcing in July 2015 that four units, in Komotini and Noussa in northern Greece, would be back in operation that autumn. This deadline, of course, was missed but the government did not give up and on December 30, 2015, it issued a legislative act suspending the liquidation of the company’s assets for another six months.

Any hopes that remain of the United Textiles factories ever operating again rest on abandoning the plan to bring the company back to life and finding a new investor to buy its assets. According to Yiannis Mousoulidis, the company’s last CEO before it went bankrupt, the Luxembourg-based Aiglon investment fund has already surveyed 65 percent of the company’s facilities. “As soon as that process is completed and it has assessed the company’s assets, it will submit an investment proposal within two weeks.”

Mousoulidis said “a written commitment to the council of creditors” already exists to this effect, while adding that the fund (which also consists of Greeks) will fully implement the operational plan he and other former employees have drafted.

This remains to be seen, however, as there is also the issue of a European Commission ruling according to which the Greek state must recoup 30 million euros in illegal state subsidies given to the company.

The case of Shelman, which went under in April 2014, is proving equally thorny. Its plant in Komotini has been managed for the past year by a group of former workers (there were more than 90 before it shut down). “We guard the facility and take care of the necessary maintenance,” says Nikos Alexandridis, the head of the workers’ group. In October 2015, the bankruptcy court ruled that the factory could be auctioned off after a Greek investor expressed interest.

The evaluation of the Komotini facility took six months and was completed in March 2016, settling on a value of 11-12 million euros. The preparation of the public auction took an additional eight months.

“It took judges four months to approve the decision by the council of creditors to put the factory up for auction,” says Giorgos Kymparidis, head of the Rodopi Bar Association and the workers’ legal representative. “When it was eventually issued it was the middle of summer and we had to wait until September to get things moving again.”

According to Kymparidis, beyond the first potential investor, others have shown an interest in the facility. This has failed to materialize, however, in consecutive weekly auctions held since early December.

Explosive chemistry

ELFE, meanwhile, is steeped in controversy and tension. Nikos Vogiatzidis, who represents 180 sacked workers, tells Kathimerini that businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, who took control of the company in 2009, transferred all its operations to two new companies in 2015, leaving to ELFE only its massive debts. Then, last March, says Vogiatzidis, “we [the workers] were asked to sign a buyout agreement – the compensation was one month’s salary plus 1,000 euros to be paid in installments – with the possibility of being rehired at the new companies on individual 14-month contracts.”

Vogiatzidis said that those who refused to sign were sued by the company for a number of reasons, including sabotage of company property. After the suits were filed, “we were fired without compensation and without the ability to claim unemployment benefits,” he claims.

Those who signed the buyout agreement are on fixed-term contracts (there are more than 400 now) and in open confrontation with the sacked workers. Meanwhile, on December 30, production was transferred to yet another new company, called Nea Karvali Fertilizers.

Following months of unrealistic promises from the government, the Labor Ministry is expected next week to send the agency responsible for the Nea Karvali Fertilizers plant’s operating license (the Regional Authority of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace) a scathing report on safety violations found at the unit. This report looms as yet another bump in the course of the company’s turbulent history.

source: ekathimerini.com, Yannis Palaiologos

Read more

The Ancient Mines of Samos

In Mytilene, one of the largest villages in Samos, in an area called Koutsodontis, there are 45 caves in the hillside. These are all entrances to Ancient Mines. The lowest caves are 147 meters above sea level, and visitors can enjoy a beautiful view of the valley around Chora when they reach them.

11905402_1166028026746697_8373136490076962702_nAll the entrances are supported by man-made carved columns which bear witness to the accuracy of the studies made before work began, the well-planned layout and the careful construction of each and every entrance in such a way as to keep the mountain above the entrances stable.

For thousands of years, time, wind and rain have ravaged these ancient structures and washed the traces and the sweat of humanity from the carved faces of the columns. So today they stand to be admired, both as works of art and feats of engineering.

Inside one of these entrances there is a hole which leads into the hillside. Explorers have found 8 levels of mining tunnels, all of which are also supported by columns. They also measured the maximum depth as being 70 meters. All the levels are 1 km long.

It is very probable that the history of this place hides many more surprises for us to discover. However there are already reliable reports about its use in the past.

2According to Herman Kienast, an architect with the German Archaeological Institute, former supervisor of the archaeological excavations at the Temple of Hera, and expert on the Tunnel of Eupalinos (or Eupalion Aqueduct), building materials for the construction of the great Temple of Hera and for other buildings in the sanctum area and in the ancient city of Samos (nowadays Pythagorion) were mined here in ancient times.

The engraved pieces of rock which are still visible on the floor of the mine today are undisputed evidence of this mining activity.

The “Samiaka” newspaper also reported that during the 1821 Greek War of Independence this place functioned as a “Nitrate Mine” where a monk named Ignatius manufactured gunpowder using nitrates. Unfortunately, in modern times, the mine has not received attention commensurate with its importance and historical value.

However, it is significant that since 2002 the Greek Ministry of Culture has, following the advice of the Greek Central Archaeological Council, conducted topographic surveys, measurements, and surface research on the area surrounding the ​​quarries. These are being carried out under the supervision of Maria Viglaki-Sofianou, an archaeologist from the 21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquities, with the cooperation of the architect, Ioannis Mitsoulis (an employee of the same Ephorate). The architect Herman Kienast also takes part in the research on behalf of the German Archaeological Institute.

During recent years, fires destroyed the surrounding forest which had acted as a “protective shield” for the site by stabilising the ground. Today, erosion has affected the soil, and if action is not taken there is a danger that the site will be destroyed.

Recently, the Prefecture and the Municipality of Pythagorion have attempted to clean up the surrounding area. This effort was supported by the Speleological Association of Samos “EUPALINOS”.

This archaeological site, which is unique on a global scale in terms of how deep it reaches into the mountain and its architecture, “is crying out” for us to take an interest in it, to save it and to promote it.

Following a study on landscaping the site made by the Greek Ministry of Culture, all 45 entrances to the quarries can now be visited by tourists. They have been linked by an impressive path which starts from the top of the hill and passes in front of all the entrances until it reaches the north entrance of the Tunnel of Eupalinos and the Springs of Agiadon, the water of which was channelled through the tunnel.

If action taken by the local authorities was coordinated with special studies and was integrated into relevant European programmes, it would be possible to undertake work which would allow visitors to go inside all 45 caves, thereby highlighting another remarkable ancient work of Samos. Speleological Association of Samos “EUPALINOS”

[ΠΗΓΗ: http://my-samos.blogspot.gr/, http://www.samos-caves.gr/, http://www.visaltis.net/, photographs Christos Vasileias, Ιpponax Apollodoros]

Read more