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Miners break into ministry to demand job cuts

Workers from the gold mines of Chalcidice in northern Greece today stormed the Ministry of Development to demand that the Government not jeopardize their jobs in their dispute with the Canadian company that exploits the deposits.

Athens, Sep 13 (EFE) .- Workers from the gold mines of Chalcidice in northern Greece today stormed the Ministry of Development to demand that the Government not to endanger their jobs in its dispute with the Canadian company that exploits the deposits.

Around a dozen miners managed to access the ministry, despite the fact that the police tried and to the cry of "do not touch the mines" they demanded to the Government of Alexis Tsipras that it grants the licenses that the Canadian company Eldorado demands to process the gold.

Finally, the police managed to expel them from the building, and the protest continued on the street, where more than a hundred miners had gathered from the north of Greece.

The protest comes two days after Eldorado announced that as of September 22, he will suspend all investment in the mines and will only attend to his commitments on maintenance and environmental protection.

The mining group stated that it had taken the decision after three months of "fruitless" negotiations with the

Eldorado Gold CEO Georges Burns blamed the government for delaying a number of needed licenses, calling on him to "think of the Greek workers and the country. "

Burns added that since 2012 the group invested $ 3 billion in mines and that its plans were to invest the same amount once there obtained the operating licenses, which would also generate another 2,400 jobs for the already 1,200 existing ones.

The manager left, however, an open door and stated that if the Greek government grants licenses in time and supports the investment Eldorado would be in a position to reconsider its decision.

The government, for its part, reproached the multinational act for political ends, as the announcement came just after Tsipras proclaimed during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron that Greece is again attractive to investors, something that the conservative opposition called into question.

Environment ministry sources said Tuesday in a meeting with the foreign press that the announcement of the company is incomprehensible, as it occurs just days before the scheduled granting of temporary licenses for one of the mines.

The aforementioned sources recalled that the definitive licensing will depend on the resolution of an arbitration process, the results of which are expected for the next six months.

The arbitration was requested by the own government after the company submitted a technical plan for the exploitation of gold, based on the "flash" casting method, which avoids the use of cyanide, used until now only with other metals.

The Ministry of the Environment stressed that the controversy with Eldorado affects fundamentally this aspect, and recalled that of the three projects that contemplate the mine, problems mainly affect the metallurgical processing plant and to a lesser extent extraction.

The Chalkidic mine activity keeps the local population divided and while the miners are in favor of a resumption of exploitation, the sectors that live in tourism and agriculture reject it.

Although the opposition is the party governmental organization Syriza was one of the flags of protest against these mines, the Government says it respects any contract signed by previous administrations.

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