At Eldorado Gold, we are at the forefront of building a modern gold mining industry in Greece. All eyes are on us to prove that mining can be done responsibly; that we can protect the air, water and soil – resources that we all share.
We have designed Olympias and Skouries, our two mining projects in northern Greece, to reduce surface impacts as much as possible. Here’s how:
Our Olympias project is a former underground mine that produced silver, lead, zinc and gold, so it has a pre-existing environmental footprint. We are currently working to reduce that footprint as we refurbish the mine for operation once again.
“So far, we’ve cleaned up a large tailings area – equivalent to the size of 35 soccer fields – that was left over from the mine’s previous operations,” explains Paul Skayman, our Chief Operating Officer. “Having reprocessed the tailings, we are now returning topsoil and re-seeding the area with native plants grown at our Olympias nursery.” When complete, this area will be returned to a re-vegetated valley.
Approximately 10 km from Olympias, the Skouries project has been designed to minimize surface impacts from the outset. “To occupy the least possible surface area, we chose a combination of open pit and underground mining methods,” says Paul.
A new filtered tailings approach will also reduce our environmental footprint. “Filtered tailings are considered a best-practice technology. It involves drying tailings before putting them in the storage facility,” he says. “The low moisture content allows us to stack tailings, better contour them to the topography and begin reclamation activity early on.” The ability to stack dry tailings decreases the storage area required.
To further reduce our surface impact, tailings will be used to back-fill areas in the underground no longer needed for mining use. This decreases the amount of tailings being sent to the storage facility in the first place.
“Skouries is a very unique project in that there are no waste areas,” says Paul. “We’ve put immense effort into building an operation that’s as low impact as possible.”