The project of removal, cleaning and restoration of the old arsenopyrite deposit site in Olympiada, Halkidiki, was recently completed, with the aim of fully reintegrating the area into the natural environment, according to an announcement by “Hellenic Gold”.
This activity is part of the major environmental rehabilitation project of the area from the long-standing previous mining activity, undertaken by Hellenic Gold since the beginning of its activity and which is the largest corresponding environmental rehabilitation program carried out in Greece. It is indicative that more than 120 million euros have already been invested since its implementation.
The restored area is located near the Olympiada enrichment plant, and was an open-air mining facility that according to historically available data was formed in the 1980s and operated until 1995 – long before the takeover of the Kassandra Mines by Hellenic Gold – for the storage of the produced arsenopyrite concentrates of the Olympiada mine. The total area of this old storage area is about 3.2 hectares.
Restoration of original grounds
In addition to the removal of arsenopyrite, which was the main source of pollution in the area, extensive cleaning and reclamation work was required for the debris and the contaminated soils which were transported in their entirety to the Kokkinolakka Dry Landfill, for the environmentally safe deposition. Ground cover and landscaping works followed for the restoration of the original ground contour.
With the completion of all the works, the area has now started to return to its previous natural state and to become reforested with the planting of 3,700 endemic plants that come from the privately owned nursery of Hellenic Gold in Olympiada.
Hellenic Gold throughout its operations has as a main concern the protection of the environment that hosts its activities and continues, in the context of responsible mining activity, to implement important projects of state-of-the-art know-how for the complete restoration of the affected areas, both from previous mining activity and in parallel with its own works, in order to deliver it to the local community after the end of the operation of the mines.