Masked attackers raid Greek gold mine

Forty masked intruders raided a gold mine in northern Greece, 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. news.com reported.

The remaining 10 guards working at the facility fled the scene.

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.

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.

"Hellas Gold SA regretfully announces an unprovoked attack at its installations in Skouries … Considerable material damages were done without – fortunately – loss of life,” the company said in a statement on Sunday.

"This incidence is an escalation of the attacks against us and is not surprising … The company takes for granted that it is supported by the majority of the locals in Halkidiki … since it took charge of the mines, in February 2012, it tripled the workforce from 400 to 1,200 permanent employees."

Image: seattlepi.com

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.