THE INVESTMENT THAT GEOPOLITICALLY UPGRADES THRACE

 

The Perama Project will be, as of today, one of the most important investments in the area of Thrace, in the NE boarder of Greece with positive contribution to the economy and the quality of life in the area’s residents, while ensuring the strictest environmental and social responsibility operational standards. The company “Thracean Gold Mining S.A” is an investment entity of the Perama Project in Thrace, with an investment capital of 150 million Euro while, throughout the next decade, another 190 million will be invested as well. The direct job positions amount to 200, and indirect employment amounts to 800 additional job positions. The income from Project Perama is estimated to 600 million Euro. In addition, it is noted that the taxes (40%) from the Project’s operation are estimated to be 260 million and are a reasonably significant contribution of the Project to the national economy (the calculations were made with the price of gold at 1400 per ounce). It is also important to note that about 70% of the capital investment and 100% of the operation’s cost are projected to remain in Greece and especially in the Area of Thrace in the form of salaries, services, supplies, engineering work, transportations, energy etc. Project Perama, according to the study social analysis of cost-benefit that was carried by the National Technical University of Athens (2003 prof. K. Panagopoulos, D. Kaliampakos), is considered socially beneficial in financial terms. In the analysis, environmental matters were taken into consideration. The two financial figures IRR (Internal rate of return), and NPV (Net Present Value), which were measured on a social basis, appear positive in all valuation scenarios.

The Perama oxide gold deposit is a typical of low sulfidation, being hosted in sedimentary deposits of Eocene to Oligocene age, located in the Northeastern Greece, in the border between the Rodopi and Evros Prefectures. The gold mineralization has been fed into the system by structurally controlled feeders inside andesitic volcanic breccia and disseminated into overlying porous sandstone units. Eighty percent (80%) of the gold is hosted by sandstones and the rest is associated with andesitic breccia and conglomerates. The Perama deposit is free of As (arsenic), Pb (lead) or other heavy metals.

The project is located in an uninhabitable area of low agricultural and forestry productive value in Evros prefecture in Thrace. The project is 5 km away from the sea, 28 km from the port of Alexandroupoli, 15 km from Makri, 7 km from Mesti and 500m from the village Perama. The intervention area of the project is 742 acres in total. Its design is in complete agreement with the instructions of the European Union about the Best Available techniques and Mine Disposal which are based on the principle of “zero denial” towards the environment (solid waste disposition filter cake, dust elimination, water recycling), and of course, Greek Legislation.

The operation involves an open pit mining of the ore and waste, (“waste” is the low grade barren rock surrounding the ore that is uneconomic to process), hauling the ore to the run of mine, ROM, pad to be stockpiled. The ore is then crushed in a closed system with a wet scrubbing system to collect the dust, the crushed ore is stored in a bin, which is then fed to a milling section where the ore is ground up to 80% passing 100 micron in water. The ground ore is then leached with a dilute cyanide solution in the leach tanks where the gold is recovered. After the cyanidation process, the cyanide is destroyed using the INCO S02/air cyanide destruction process, the tailings are then dewatered as they pass through filter press units and the dry stack (filter cake) is deposited into the Mine Waste Management Facility, MWMF, for storage.

The Project’s implementation timetable consists of 3 stages. Stage one is construction of the project which will last 18 months. Stage 2, the duration of whose duration is estimated at 8 years, includes the process of exploiting the gold-bearing ore with cut and cover method, and the “collection” of valuable metals (gold and silver) with hydrometallurgical method in presence of active carbon. The operation specifications of the project which are defined by the legislation ensure complete elimination of dust with maceration on the excavation spots and transportation of the ore.

In the next stage, the ore will be processed in a solution of sodium cyanide which has the ability to separate gold and silver from the rest of the ore. At this point the gold-bearing solution goes to the electroplating recovery circuit for the production of a gold and silver alloy (Doré).

The remaining material goes through a process of eliminating the cyanide, and with the aid of the INTCOM method, the final cyan content becomes less than 1 ppm., which is ls less than one gram per ton (10 times less than what European legislation determines). The clean now material goes through filter press, is compressed, dehydrated and what remains is a liquidless solid waste with 15% humidity, liquid cake! Water from the filter press is recycled and goes back to the production process achieving great savings in water consumption since 93% of the demanded quantity comes from recycling. Filter cake, will be transported to the weatherproof storage space. In the project’s previous design, there used to be a tailings pond that would occupy almost double the space than what the current does. The company’s commitment is highlighted, that no cubic of water that is used for irrigation or water supply of the villages or the area will be used.

The third and final life stage of the project will last 1.5 year and includes the secure closure of the mine as well as the environmental recovery of the areas of activity with disassembly of the gold processing plant and all the assisting facilities and parallel vegetation of the area by endemic kinds of flora. The final form of the recovery plan will be decided with the local authorities, however, tree planting of a large area is definite. For that purpose, nursery garden is already being constructed in Perama, in cooperation with the Democritus University of Thrace, from which, a large amount of black pine trees and other area species will be reproduced.

THRACEAN STRUGGLE, John Nikitas, 25/04/2015

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IN EURO EVEN WITH A MEMORANDUM, YES TO SKOURIES

An interesting poll is presented by the newspaper Kathimerini.

“Our country’s stay in Euro is a choice of the majority of the citizens in case of a dead end in the negotiations, even if this results in the implementation of a new Memorandum. This comes as a result of a survey conducted by the university research institute of Macedonia for television station SKAI. When asked what to choose between staying in Euro and returning to Drachma, 66.5% is in favor of staying in Euro, with27% choosing to return to Drachma. The percentage differs when staying in Euro is accompanied by the implementation of a new Memorandum, it remains, however, higher in preference of the citizens, with 55,5% against 35% that choose the return to Drachma regardless of the financial policy. For the mining of ores in Halkidiki, 50.5% considers that the investment should continue, against the 26.5% that says it should stop. Citizens appreciate in a percentage of 33% that the next 12 months the financial state of the country will improve, while 30% believes it will be worsen. 52% answers that its financial condition has deteriorated compared to a year ago, while 43.5% considers the condition neither better nor worse.”

KATHIMERINI, 05/05/2015

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ELDORADO GOLD: WE HAVE INVESTED 450 MILLION DOLLARS IN GREECE

The so far course, but also the potential investment of Eldorado Gold in Greece have been basic subjects of the company’s Board of Directors agenda in the context of announcing the financial results of the first quarter of 2015. The CEO of Eldorado Gold, Paul Wright, stressed that “we will support our investment in Greece and our operations have already progressed in the area of Halkidiki. With liquidity reaching 870 million dollars in the first quarter of 2015 we represent one of the most powerful industries and continue our growth”.

According to the results report of the first quarter, Eldorado Gold is one of the largest investors in Greece, having invested, through its subsidiary company Hellas Gold, in the works at Skouries and Olympiada 450 million dollars. The company directly occupies more than 2200 people and what is being paid in 2014 for taxes and to suppliers, amounts up to at least 50 million dollars and 160 million dollars respectively. Furthermore, the freight traffic that originates from the activities of Eldorado Gold corresponds to 30% of the total freight traffic in the port of Thessaloniki. The company highlights that it is committed to the development of the area where it is active on, in cooperation with the local society and the government. Its activity is lawful and as it does in other countries that is active, so it does in Greece, following the Greek and European rules.

In regards to the progress of the project, during the first quarter of the year, the implementation of forerunner construction works in the area of Skouries were continued, for which the company invested more than 20 million dollars.

In the holding of the Olympiad, during the first quarter of the year, 4743 ounces of gold have been produced due to the processing of 157040 tons of ores with the invested amount reaching 11.5 million euros. In the Stratonios facility, the production of concentrates was continued, according to the report of the company, but in lesser quantities.

In total during the first quarter, Eldorado Gold produced 189414 ounces of gold (including the production via the processing of the Olympiad’s stagnation), with the adjusted net profitability standing at 19.5 million dollars. The income from the selling of gold with a mean value of 1232 dollars per ounce stood at 224 million dollars, while the liquidity stood at about 870 million dollars.

Concerning the matter of the legal rivalry that emerged between Hellas Gold and the Ministry of Reconstruction of Production, Environment and Energy (MRPEE) regarding the attachments for the approval of the technical studies for the metallurgy of copper, gold and the enrichment plant in the area of Mantem Lakkou, it should be noted that the parent company has been informed accordingly. In this context, from the side of the Greek subsidiary company, it is stressed that it will make all the necessary efforts in order to ensure its interests, while securing above all public interest, protection of the environment and the smooth continuation of its operations.

(NAFTEMPORIKI, 05/05/2015)

 

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GOLD MINES OF MACEDONIA

The exploitation of gold, silver and lead was very important to ancient people and particularly to Ancient Greeks. There are many historical references that show the value and importance of these metals in their lives. Particularly gold and silver consisted at the time symbols of power, worship objects and many times a cause of war. The largest gold mines in antiquity were operating in areas of Macedonia and Thrace. Many ancient Greek cities and many sovereigns based their power on the exploitation of silver and gold mines. A milestone in ancient history is the fact that, from the exploitation of silver mines in Lavrio (Laurium), the Athenians constructed, among others, 200 triremes and crushed together with other Greeks the Persian fleet in the straits of Salamis.

Therefore, the gold mines of Macedonia played undoubtedly an important role in the evolution of ancients, particularly the mines of the area that expands from Axios to Nestos, including Thasos. The most important metal that was discovered in the area and was used by the inhabitants was gold. For centuries the rich mines of Pangeo contained in abundance gold and silver, in such a way that Herodotus mentioned that “the Pangeo mountain, which is large and high, has gold and silver ore within it, which are exploited by Pieres Odomantoi and Satrai “, while Strabo mentioned that “there is much gold in Krines, where the city of Philippi was founded, close to the Pangeo mountain. And in Pangeo there are gold and silver mines, as well as in both the area up to river Strymon and the area beyond the river which expands to the borders of Paeonia. The inhabitants of Paeonia can also find some pieces of gold in their land”. Euripides, in his tragedy “Rhesus” names the Pangeo as “the mountain with the blocks of gold, the soil of which hides silver”. Therefore, the search for gold consisted the most important issue for the area throughout the centuries as well as the key point of the entire history of the area. Thucydides was the owner of mines in Skapti Yli (in the valley of Philippi) and provides information based on his own experience.

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CHALKIDIKI

Chalkidiki is characterised by its important historical and cultural wealth, which is inextricably linked to the mining activity in the area, and in particular in its northeastern part, which is rich in mixed sulfide ores. Furthermore, it is the area where mining activities began earlier than in other Roman areas, in the Roman era.

The Kassandra mines expand in a wider area of a total surface of 200 square kilometers among the villages of Olympiada, Stanou, Megali Panagia and Ierissos. They include the deposits of basic sulfide and precious sulfide metals of Olympiada, Madem Lakkos, Mavres Petres, the deposits of manganese-gold of Piavitsa and Varvara and the deposits of copper-gold of Skouries and Megali Panagia.

The mines of gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper and manganese of the Northern Chalkidiki (Stratoni and Olympiada) consisted the main financing source of the kingdom of Macedon and of the campaigns of Alexander the Great.

Cornel L. Sagui, in his article “The ancient Mining Works of Cassandra”, which has been published in the Economic Geology magazine, claims that he found here, in the galleries of the mines of Lipzada (Olympiada), coins of Philip and of Alexander.

In the area remain more than 300 wells and approximately 200,000 cubic meters of ancient metallurgical debris, the common “rust” which are remains of the ore smelting. Based on historical sources and on results of direct and indirect analyses and determinations that have been performed for the aforementioned rust, the beginning of the activity dates back to the beginning of the Classical antiquity.

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THE ANCIENT MINES OF ASIA MINOR

Pactolus, the gold-bearing river of Asia Minor originates in mount Tmolus. It was in the proximity of this river that the ancient inhabitants of the area found and used the Lydian stone (lydite). It was a black rock of an extraordinary hardness, a sort of black jasper. They carved on the Lydian stone a trace of a golden object and in this way they could determine the gold content of the object, that is, its carats. It is a method that is still used in order to find the gold content of gold alloys.

The exploitation of gold deposits in Asia Minor began rather early; ancient sources mention that the Lydians exploited mineral gold in the area of mount Tmolus and transported it through the rivers Pactolus and Hermus. However, researchers do not agree on the date the exploitations of the above deposits began. Some scientists believe that the exploitation began in the early Iron Age, others in the second half of the 8th century BC, or even in the 7th century BC. More recently scientists argued that the Pactolus gold was already mined in the 3d millennium BC. However the latest research studies do not confirm that gold was mined in Lydia in such an early period. From what Herodotus mentions about river Pactolus, it can be deduced that the Greeks regarded the city of Sardis as an important precious metals market. Close to very rich gold-bearing deposits on mount Tmolus lied Ephesus. Finally, it is possible that the exploitation of the gold-bearing area in Astyra, close to Abydos, which is reported by Strabo and Xenophon, began in the Classical era. The fact, however, that gold is the second most frequently mentioned metal by Homer cannot be accidental.

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