The birthplace of Aristotle is being laid waste by a vast mining project, opening a rift in a cash-strapped society. Jim Wickens reports
Shadowed by security guards who film his every move, Giannis Verginis gazes out over the slope of Mt Kakavos, listening to the whining of chainsaws in the valley below.
“We used to come to this area with my family and children,” says Mr Verginis. “Up until a few months ago it was a beautiful place and we used to have fun. Now the entire area is deforested and if my children were here they would cry seeing this.”
The large-scale clearance on this remote mountain-side in north-eastern Greece is only the preliminary part of a gold mining project green-lighted by the country’s cash-strapped government; a development that will see open-pit mines and several huge tailing dams built within a concession that spans over 31,700 hectares of ancient forest and farmland.