Eldorado Gold, a Canadian mining company, has been aggressively pursuing mining projects in northern Greece;
And whereas these projects promise to have and are already having a significant negative impact on the environment and communities in the region;
And whereas there is massive opposition to the mining projects in the region;
And whereas the Canadian government is actively promoting the project through our embassy in Greece as well as providing support to Eldorado through Export Development Canada (EDC);
And whereas Canadians’ public pension funds are invested in these mines;
And whereas Canada’s support for socially and environmentally irresponsible mining activities is having a negative impact on Canada’s international reputation;
And whereas irresponsible mining activities also damage efforts to get mining companies to follow more acceptable practices here in Canada and throughout the world.
We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to condemn irresponsible and unethical mining practices in Greece and withdraw Canadian governmental support from Eldorado Gold and its projects.
We further call on the Canadian government to support the establishment of a legally enforceable code of conduct for responsible mining practices that ensures that such projects follow the highest international environmental, labour and human rights standards.
Canadian government support of Eldorado Gold’s proposed Skouries and Perama Hill mining projects has led to an increasingly negative international reputation for Canada. The Canadian government is involved through its Embassy in Greece, funding from Export Development Canada, and investments by public pension plans.
According to Greek mining regulations, the company has full possession of the minerals contained in the concessions granted and there are no royalties payable to the State – providing little economic security to the region or the State. Due to current political instability in Greece and the accompanying state-wide austerity measures, Greek authorities have displayed little tolerance for displays of opposition from citizens in the region.
These economic and environmental concerns feed into the social impacts from the mining developments. Halkidiki and Thrace are nearby to where Eldorado has begun digging the mine’s open pits and clear cutting forested area. Since late 2011, there has been growing opposition by the residents, and growing police attention.
The Greek government’s silence has only exacerbated the situation. In October, 2012, police clashed with over 2500 protesters, with citizens reporting false arrests, gratuitous brutality and overwhelming force. These clashes have become more frequent as opposition to the mine has grown. The latest videos show police using excessive force against a group of women staging a peaceful protest on the mining road on Mother’s Day (May 12, 2013). A group of residents marching against the clear cutting of the forest were met by riot police. There were reports of gunfire between the protestors and the police, leading to concerns of possible police provocation in order to falsely accuse the opposition of gun violence.
The Canadian Ambassador to Greece is on record making clear Canada’s involvement and support of the project. Eldorado is a Canadian company that is supported by Canadian funds. The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (RRQ) both have millions of dollars invested in Eldorado’s mining activities, and Export Development Canada (EDC) was recently named a major lender to Eldorado to as part of an “amended and restated credit agreement” (AARC) to support “growth opportunities and general corporate purposes.”
I am asking you to removing Canadian support for Eldorado Gold Corporation extractive mining in northern Greece.