May 2015

Editor's letter

To Hellas and back

By Ryan Bergen

Ryan BergenLast autumn section editor Peter Braul and communications coordinator Zoë Koulouris packed a camera and a voice recorder, as well as some sunscreen, and flew off to Thessaloniki, Greece. The final destination was Eldorado Gold’s Kassandra mines on the Halkidiki Peninsula. The sites, operated by Eldorado subsidiary Hellas Gold, are a constellation of brownfield and greenfield properties, some of which have, off and on, been producing metals for thousands of years.

Before Eldorado can turn these properties into profitable operations, the company has plenty of work to do: an eight-kilometre tunnel that connects two of the mines and allows for the transport of ore must be completed; tailings from past production will have to be cleaned up; old underground workings need to be expanded; an open-pit mine – a first for the country – must be developed and a processing plant that integrates the feed from three different mines built. Peter details the work in our project profile, “The Kassandra complex,” a title derived from the Greek myth of Cassandra, who was given the power of prophecy, but whose warnings about the future were not believed.

The projects, which currently employ more than 2,000 people, might seem like a great boost for Greece, which is way over its head in an economic mess, but politics have jeopardized the future of the mines. Supporters will argue that the project, where two of the mines have at least 25 years of life, have a role to play in saving the country from its current distress. Shut it down and foreign investors will take their badly needed dollars elsewhere. Opponents contend the environmental costs will be too high and have the recently elected government as an ally. And so we wait to see whose warnings will be heeded and whose will be dismissed.

Spring is always a rush at CIM National as preparation for the annual CIM Convention reaches its peak. This year we added the publication of a new book, Metallurgical Plant Design, to the long list of projects and deadlines. This volume, as co-editor Chris Twigge-Molecey explains, bridges the informational gap between engineering and project execution. The 12-chapter book is the product of countless hours of work from volunteers and CIM staffers and a testament to their enormous commitment to their professional calling. Copies are available at the conference and online at

CIM’s media offerings have also expanded to video. Visitors to CIM Magazine online can now find presentations from a number of industry experts who are challenging miners to weigh the risk of innovation against the growing risk of complacency. The videos capture the proceedings at McEwen Mining’s quarterly innovation lunches hosted at the company’s Toronto offices. The presentations, complete with slides, are graciously provided by McEwen Mining and are an excellent complement to whatever is on your lunch menu.

Ryan Bergen

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