The sector of extractive-metallurgical industry is a pillar of the regional economy and one of the greatest employers in the country, with international presence and 84,000 employees, as it contributes 3.4% of the country’s GDP with an annual turnover of 6.2 billion euros. 80% of the production is exported, while the value of these exports is over 1 billion euros per year. The great contribution of the mining companies to the Greek Periphery, has been described yesterday in a meeting with journalists by the President of the Association of Mining Companies Mr. Athanassios Kefalas. As he mentioned, the activities of the extractive sector have a significant positive impact on the economy of Attica too, by contributing approximately 2.1 billion euros. The reason for this is that the headquarters and offices of most of the companies of the sector are located in Attica.

The President of the Association of Mining Companies made a particular reference in his speech to the inhibiting factors that hinder the growth of the extractive sector and constitute a barrier. Among others were mentioned “the cumbersome licensing process, both for existing activities and for new investments, bureaucracy, the outdated quarrying law, the social reactions due to the great fear of environmental degradation in combination with the non existence of effective controls, the lack of stable tax and labor legislative framework, and above all the insecurity regarding justice”.

Mr. Kefalas, being invited to comment on the negative attitude of the Greek state in the case of Hellas Gold, argued that there is a bad past, with the licenses creating rivalry and social upheaval. “It is no accident that, when the licensing of a facility begins, the first thing they ask us is what is the opinion of the mayor and of the local community ” he mentioned, and pointed out that gold is not rings and bracelets, but it consists an industrial product that is used by manufactures of mobile (cell) phones, medical instruments (tomography scanners) etc. Mr. Kefalas tried to disprove the view that industries are destroying natural wealth and are harmful to the environment, by pointing out that on the island of Milos, where the facilities of the former S&B are located, where he was a senior employee and where he remains after the strategic merging with the French company Imerys, 63,000 square meters of land will be turned into vineyards, on the initiative of the company. Regarding the effect of the crisis in the sector, he declared that there is no impact on the turnover.

However it is observed that there is an impact on the competitiveness of the Greek companies, due, for example, to overtaxation.

Citing a study of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, he pointed out that next to Attica, the contribution of the sector is quite significant in Central Macedonia too, and amounts to approximately 1 billion euros. Furthermore, 12% of the added value that is created in the Region of Sterea Ellada (740 million euros) is attributed to the extractive sector. This is the case respectively, for approximately 4% of the added value that is created in the Regions of Eastern Macedonia–Thrace (300 million euros), Western Macedonia (130 million euros) and Thessaly (270 million euros), as well as for approximately 3% of the added value that is created in the Region of South Aegean (160 million euros). The contribution of the extractive industry to the added value that is produced in Central Macedonia is also quite important (approximately 500 million euros or approximately 2.2% of the added value of the Region).

Mr. Kefalas referred to the regional effects of the extractive industry on employment which are today particularly important, arguing that in the last years it has been observed that it also contributes to the internal migration, as more and more young people are moving to islands and areas where respective activities take place., By Marianna Tzanne, 07/06/2016