Gold mine protest in Greece leaves 9 injured

Nine people were injured in Greece over the weekend after police clashed with a group protesting over a gold mining project in the country’s north.

Eight riot police and an activist were injured during the protest at site of Hellas Gold in the Halkidiki peninsula.

The West Australian reported that four of the officers were wounded after being shot at.

"Shooting police officers in Halkidiki is a major challenge against the state of justice in our country," Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said in a statement released on Sunday.

Opposition to the gold mine and processing plant being built at Skouries in the Halkidiki peninsula has been long running, with residents objecting to what they say will be the destruction of the environment. They argue the mine will mean a loss in tourism, farming and fishing in the area.

Forty masked intruders raided the gold mine in February , setting fire to offices and machinery.

According to police, two security guards were tied up and doused with petrol and the intruders threatened to set them on fire, before setting offies and equipment alight

While in January hundreds of Greeks took to the streets of Athens to demonstrate against the new mine.

The company, Hellas Gold, is 95 per cent owned by Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold Inc. Eldorado Gold plans to invest one billion euros into the mine, with production set to begin in 2015.

Eldorado boss Eduardo Moura said the project would "generate approximately 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in Greece,” BBC reported.

Authorities hope it will help to fight the crippling unemployment in the region as the country heads into its sixth year of recession.

Image: AFP

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