The triptych, (i) Scientific/Technical Documentation, (ii) Political/Corporate Governance and (iii) Social Participation/Consent is the one that defines and determines the democratic context of productive exploitation of the mineral wealth, as well as of most of the other development activities. It consists the foundation of rational and pragmatic approach for each development activity, particularly in the case that it is related with investment initiatives and actions of the mining industry and, of course, of the productive economy in general. This proposal and application of social, economic, technocratic as well as moral principles composes, founds and establishes the Democratic Development, always on the basis of a purely objective approach and conception.

The “scientific and technical documentation” always occurs in a specifically proven and fully enshrined way. It is based on numbers and sizes that refer to qualitative and quantitative parameters, which, in their turn, evaluate and calculate in a mathematically correct way the deposit and mining value.

The “political governance” along with the corporate responsibility that is demanded and required today set the terms and the context and guarantee the public interest and the regional/local benefits. The programmatic agreement along with the operational plan, refer to the signed agreement that is characterized by transparency and is, at the same time, binding and viable, regardless of any political and/or governmental changes or turbulence. This means absolute, fair and mutual respect of all the involved parties.  The same also regards the issue of acceptance of the existing mining policy. The existence of a consistent strategy regarding the exploitation of mineral wealth consists an essential requirement for investment actions that can last over time.

The “social participation and consent” is essential for a strong and complete Democratic Development. Humans have by themselves an interactive presence individually as well as collectively and are interested in the advantages and the possible effects: new jobs and progress, but also quality of life and environment. They do neither express themselves with aphorisms, nor do they refuse, but cooperate, control and contribute. They think nationally and collectively and not only locally and personally. They put forward the vision and the future and put aside political expediencies and short-lived systemic issues.

Of course, the practice which is followed in our country is rather in the opposite direction. The scientific evidence and proof are not taken into account, or are interpreted as it suits, and are very usually “demolished” in an easy and irrelevant way. The political governance chooses to take a populist stance and to change strategies and the contents of investment agreements partially, without the perspective of the next step and for obscure reasons. The local societies, instead of choosing the honest dialogue having as unique and essential basis the guarantee of the viable development that serves and offers progressive value to the citizens of the area, act unconventionally and selectively which leads to fragmentation and polarization. A typical example of this is the Northeastern Chalkidiki, where the famous Mademochoria are clearly and dynamically in favor of the productive exploitation of the mineral wealth of the area, while the official Municipal authorities are persistently and fanatically against the ongoing mining investment. This is a curious and at the same time dramatic confrontation between the “de facto” residents and employed persons in the mines and the Municipal authority and the people that support it. Thus the Municipality has the intention to close the mine of Mavres Petres and to conduct a technogeological study in order to decide whether the “explosive” underground operations are responsible for the cracks and other structural failures that can be observed in houses at Stratoniki. There is no problem regarding the study, it must take place and draw its conclusions, having as main recipients of its results the residents of the area that are directly interested. However, the fact that the closure of the mine is demanded has no rational explanation and rather is unique in its kind at an international level, as it does neither take into account nor calculate the subsequent structural and environmental consequences and effects. And this happens at a time where one does not enter an uncharted area and things are not of course at level zero, since a similar study has been conducted and completed in the past. More particularly the IGME (Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration) has conducted in the period 2008-2009, the research project “GEOPHYSICAL, TECHNOGEOLOGICAL AND HYDROGEOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE MINING AREA OF MAVRES PETRES– MADEM LAKKOS” that included technogeological mapping and geophysical prospects. In the report that has been prepared and submitted, the “conduction of geotechnical drilling with the simultaneous conduction of seismodynamic tests” was proposed. Furthermore, the “examination of the buildings by engineering specialists of ITSAK (Institute of Engineering Seismology and Earthquake Engineering) and evaluation of the recordings of the local network of seismographs and accelerographs” was proposed, so that “the causes of the failures are assessed and the structural efficiency of the buildings is evaluated”. In its 3d report, that took place immediately after this, the Committee of Observation of Environmental Conditions has adopted, at the time, the proposals of IGME and proposed “that a further geotechnical examination of Stratoniki, regarding civil engineering issues, will approach the seismological aspect and will study through measurable sizes the potential effects to the environment of the buildings, proposing measures for the safety of the structures” and that “the geotechnical study which gives emphasis to the structured environment of Stratoniki should be completed”. In parallel, it remarked that “the sudden cease of operation of the mines will bring about uncontrolled environmental effects to the area”. This is loud and clear from any point of view. The actual discussion about the matter, that takes place almost 7 years after this study, is legitimate, but consists the sequence of existing data which must be used in order for the next interventions to be designed. And as it is, of course, understood, the arguments in favor of the closure of the mine have no scientific basis at all, are not rational and obviously serve other purposes.

On the other hand, a relevant and fully realistic comparison is that, by the same reasoning, one should stop the construction, operation and, why not, shut down the 160 subway systems that exist today in 148 large cities in 55 countries in the world at an average depth of 10-12 meters.  Thus the social and economic network would have been blocked and would have collapsed along with other development structures and actions.

In full contrast to this, Sweden could be regarded as a typical example of fair practice regarding the promotion and implementation of a Democratic Development. A country where the scientific evidence is not put in doubt but is rather promoted and exploited. The investment agreements take place regardless of the government that signed them or the politics that were followed at the time. An example of a high level corporate responsibility that has nothing to do with any political reality. A society and citizens that participate, discuss, set their own terms, but do neither refuse nor undermine the democratically taken decisions. A country where the national mining policy and strategy that has been voted by the former government is not abolished by the next one. That is the continuation and consistency of the function of the state toward its citizens, the present and future of the country. Today, 14 mines are operating in Sweden, which have produced in 2015 72 million tons of ore,  as well as 40 quarries of industrial minerals and 50 quarries of aggregates and building stones. There are 90 new ongoing investment plans and projects of productive exploitation of the mineral wealth, the licenses of which cover and regard an overall area of 10,630 square kilometers. 854 deposits and 17,000 metalliferous areas have been recorded. The country produces 92% of iron, 29% of zinc, 36% of lead and 24% of gold of Europe.

It is possible that, in Greece also, if we decide to seriously support the Democratic Development, we will finally manage to implement some investment opportunities regarding the exploitation of the mineral wealth of Northern Greece, such as the ones that have occurred and were brought forward in the past, and are presented as examples on the attached map.

[SOURCE:, by Nikolaos Arvanitidis, Doctor of Geology, 9/2/2016]