4 facts about air, water & forest impacts of gold mining in Greece

At Eldorado Gold we get questions about the potential environmental impacts of the mining projects we are developing in Greece, particularly from communities near our sites.

Mining is a highly regulated industry and we are committed to complying with national and European standards to protect the air, water, forest and communities near our operations.

Here are four key facts about what we’re doing to manage and mitigate the environmental impact of our operations in Greece.

FACT 1: Eldorado’s Skouries site will be fully reforested on mine closure

Our Skouries project is situated within the Halkidiki forest.  About 180 hectares (or 0.09% of the total forest area) will be cleared for the mine site.

In comparison, the forestry industry in northeast Halkidiki logs approximately 190 hectares of forest every year; equivalent to 4,750 hectares over the period that the Skouries mine will be in operation.

We are responsible for replanting trees we remove and will rehabilitate areas of the Skouries site in parallel with our mining activities.  That means when an area is no longer needed for mining use, we begin rehabilitation work right away.

Our closure and rehabilitation plan will see the mine decommissioned and the area fully reforested once Skouries reaches the end of its life in approximately 2045 (Skouries currently has a 25 year plus mine life).

Aerial view of the Skouries mine site area that will be reforested at the end of the mine life.

Aerial view of the Skouries mine site area that will be reforested at the end of the mine life.

FACT 2: Water use at Eldorado’s Halkidiki mine sites meet the highest regulatory standards

Our Greek mine sites have comprehensive environmental management systems that control our water use in accordance with operating permits and regulations.  This helps ensure the quantity of water in the area is not negatively affected.

Our processing plants are designed as closed-loop systems that recycle and recirculate water, reducing the amount we use from local sources. Any contact water that falls within our sites is either:

  • Collected, treated and used for industrial water requirements;
  • Evaporated off; or
  • Discharged once water quality standards are met and if regulations allow.

Rainwater runoff is directed away from our sites using diversion channels, ensuring downstream safety.

We monitor the water quality and water level in local aquifers to demonstrate that they remain unchanged as a result of our operations.  An Independent Environmental Committee comprised of professors, scientific personnel and representatives from local authorities regularly monitors and audits our water management performance.

To further demonstrate transparency we’ve also created a public online database of environmental data collected in and around our Stratoni, Skouries and Olympias sites.  Anyone can access and monitor our environmental performance.

At Eldorado, we recognize that water is a vital resource and we are proud to adhere to the highest standards to proactively manage our water use and discharge quality.

Strict quality measures must be met before mine water can be discharged from Stratoni, Greece.

Strict quality measures must be met before mine water can be discharged from Stratoni, Greece.

FACT 3: Dust controls help us meet strict air quality standards

At Eldorado we proactively manage our mining activities to ensure air quality is maintained and that we are operating well within our permit and environmental requirements.  Dust controls in place include road watering, covering truck beds and conveyor belts, and installing dust filters on drills, crushing stations, milling stations and cement silos.

The orebody at Skouries holds a high moisture content, further reducing the opportunity for dust.

To let us know that we are operating in compliance with environmental regulations, we monitor our dust emissions on a bi-weekly basis through eight stations located within and at the boundaries of our Olympias, Skouries and Stratoni sites.

Furthermore a network of 21 dust and air quality monitoring stations are in the process of being installed at nearby villages.

Our dust and air monitoring stations take readings on a continuous basis to ensure air quality standards are met.

Our dust and air monitoring stations take readings on a continuous basis to ensure air quality standards are met.

FACT 4: Studies and continuous monitoring show no asbestos hazard at Skouries mine

Detailed studies conducted in collaboration with academic and independent consultants, have found no asbestos hazards at our Skouries mine.  Laboratory analysis during the studies showed fibers from air samples to be non-asbestos material.

Even though we have not identified any asbestos hazard at Skouries, we are required by law to monitor for asbestos fibers in the air at work fronts using a continuous recording instrument.  Skouries will use an advanced real-time fiber monitor that automatically detects and counts airborne fibers.  The monitor has a visible and audible alarm that indicates when fiber concentrations exceed regulation levels.

As further precaution, we are also training employees on asbestos hazard awareness.

For more on our approach to operating responsibly, check out our website.

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