We know that in 357 BC Philip watched the Chalcidice very closely since it thanked its economic importance to the mines of Crenides, just above the
a valuable naval base in the region. Philip marched in and defeated the
Thracian forces. He was determined to stay and in order to put his stamp on
this place he changed the name of Crenides to port of Neapolis Philippi.
These newly acquired mines provided Philip with a reliable and steady
inflow of money, Crenides being the largest and most profitable
mine. By 356 BC money
was flowing in steadily from these recently acquired mines and it is said they
yielded more than 1,000 talents a year, more than enough to cover his military
expenses and provide regular pay to his soldiers.
At about the same time, Philip had kicked out the Athenians from the Chalcidice where they had established settlements at
the neck of the Cassandra peninsula), close to Olynthus,
and fought with them over Amphipolis on the trading route with
including abovementioned mines of Crenides. In the process, Philip
obtained control over the mines of Stratonici, Skouries and Olympiade
on the east side of the Thrace Chalcidice peninsula.
The Chalcidice is one of the most beautiful regions of Greece, least spoiled by tourism and rich with forests of oak, beech and pine and a main producer of wine, honey and olive oil. This is exactly where today’s big mining companies face each other to bring them back into production.
Canadian Eldorado Gold and Australian Glory Resources want to turn
into the biggest producer of
these precious metals by Greece 2016.
A very ambitious and controversial project in a country desperately
needing fresh currency. The projects are not exactly new but until now they were
stopped by environmentalists because of the inevitable pollution, especially in
the case of gold mining. Yet, in a region where unemployment hits 25% of the
population it is understandable that conflicts between opposing parties arise.
The companies promise to create 1,500 new jobs but local environmentalists
argue that their present jobs will become obsolete: fishermen, beekeepers,
lumberjacks, all those working in the woods and in the tourist sector will be
What disturbs me personally is to read for instance that the contract between the Greek state and Eldorado’s subsidiary Hellas Gold stipulates that they are not liable for any “historic environment liabilities”. Is nobody paying attention to the consequence for our heritage, I wonder? As always, politics and money are the winners. In this homeland of Aristotle, plans are being drawn to create an open pit mine of approximately
700 metres in diameter together
with a subterranean mine, and the first trees have been felled already. By 2016
the combined locations of Skouries, Olympias and Stratoni
are expected to produce about 345,000 ounces of
[picture from www.eldoradogold.com]
Another “hot-spot” is the Sapes mines located northwest of Alexandroupolis in today’s province of Thrace, also once actively exploited by King Philip, which is expected to have an annual output of about
80,000 ounces of
gold. In this area also, 24%
of the population is without a job; together with the other three mining sites
mentioned above, these rates are higher than ’s average. Greece
But there is still another factor to consider, and that is how much profit these enterprises will yield to the Greek treasury. Glory, for instance, based on the current estimated lifetime of the project will pay about $80 million in taxes and approximately $22 million in royalties. However, there is no law regulating taxes on royalties from the mining activities in
and in the end, the gross of
the profits will not end up with the Greeks themselves. Greece
Gold miners predict
soon be the biggest European producer. Yes, could be, but will it work to boost
the economy? Greece