For one more time, Eldorado Gold said it would freeze investments in its Skouries gold mine in North Greece, taking a tough stand in its battle with the country’s government. The decision threatsn the jobs of 500 people. But how many people do really work for Eldorado Gold in Greece? An exclusive report by daily Efimerida Ton Syntakton reveals “the half-truths and full lies” of the Canadian gold miners.
In a statement issued on Thursday Eldorado Gold said it would move the Skouries project back into “care and maintenance” and re-assess its investment in the project upon approval and receipt of required permits.
The miner also said it had started legal action against Greece’s Ministry of Energy and Environment.
“Although we have made good progress on the Olympias mine, we require the necessary permits and government support prior to investing further in Skouries,” Eldorado Gold CEO George Burns said in a statement.
“As a consequence we are now taking the necessary legal action to enforce the company’s rights while continuing efforts to resolve outstanding matters through ongoing dialogue.”
Eldorado’s investment is one of the biggest in Greece and has long been viewed as a test of the country’s resolve to attract foreign capital.
In September, Eldorado announced to halt new investment in its Olympias, Skouries and the Stratoni mines in the northern Greek region of Halkidiki, unless the government granted it permits and showed a willingness to engage in talks. However, the company soon backed down on that decision.
Freezing the Skouries project also means that a minimum of workers will remain, while some 500 people will lose their jobs, Greek media report.
But how many people has Eldorado Gold hired in Greece so it can use their numbers as a blackmail tool again and again?
An exclusive report of daily Efimerida ton Syntaktwn(EfSyn) has did research on the real numbers of employers, “the half-truths and the full lies” Eldorado uses to blackmail the government.
- A company research paper on ElGold website speaks of: 1,300 people
- The Eldorado workers union “Agia Varvara: 1,700 people
- Eldorado Gold magazine: 1,600 people
- ElGold in 2014: 1,900 people
- Joint statement of El Gold unions 2015: 1,900 people. 600 in Skouries, 600 in Olympiada, 550 in Stratoni and Mavres Petres, 140 in administration.
- ElGold announcement June 2015: 1,000 people and 996 people hired by contractors
- Daily Avgi reveals in Jan 2016, that 869 people were hired in the context of subsidized vouchers for unemployed, funded by the Greek State and the European Union. Total cost for the program that was used twice: 6,882,720 euros. “The company did not spend a single euro.”
- In August 2017, when workers protest the freezing of Olympiada project they speak of 2,400 people at risk of losing their jobs. A month later, when workers visit the leader of New Democracy they speak of 1,100 people.
- A day later, the Greek Union of Private Sector speaks of: 2,500 people
- On 11. Sept 2017, Burns was speaking of: 2,500 people and the perspective to hire another 1,200
- On the same day, New Democrasy leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was attacking the government saying: 1,200 workers at Eldorado Gold lose their jobs and another 1,200 the company was planning to hire lose their hope for a job.
According to data obtained by EfSyn with regards to the number of workers Eldorado Gold registered at the relevant Greek authorities
- 1,045 people work for Eldorado Gold; Among them are workers on full time work contract as well as apprentices. 32 people work as freelancers. Total number: 1,077.
This number does not include temporary workers hired by contractors, workers who are paid when contractors are paid by Eldorado Gold.
- Skouries project: 35 people work in production in Skouries, 32 work in the administration in Athens.
On the same day Eldorado Gold announced the freezing of Skouries project, the Unions of workers at the company filed a suit against Environment Minister George Stathakis for delaying the signing of an the equipment licence with Hellas Gold. The licence requested relates to electromechanical equipment installation.
Unions filing the workers’ suit include the Labor Center of Halkidiki, the professional organisation of staff at Aktor ATE-Hellas Gold, and the union of miners at the Kassandra mines in Halkidiki peninsula.
Edlorado Gold workers protesting outside the Ministry in Athens on 13. Sept 2017.