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Greek Police Detain Suspect in Thessaloniki Gold Mine Attack

Greek police arrested and detained a person suspected of taking part in an attack on the Skouries mine operated by Hellas Gold SA near the northern city of Thessaloniki.

Thirty-three other people were arrested and later released, according to a police spokesman, who asked not to be identified in line with department policy. A group of about 40 masked attackers burned cars and machinery at the mine after midnight on Feb. 17, using Molotov cocktails, the police said in a text message sent to reporters today.

One security guard at the mine was injured and hospitalized and later released, according to a statement from Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold Corp., which owns 95 percent of Hellas Gold. Eldorado said temporary construction offices, trucks and heavy equipment, most owned by local contractors, were burned in the attack.

Hellas Gold took over the Skouries mine last year and employs 1,200 workers there, according to a statement from the company today.

The Skouries mine has reserves of 3.6 million ounces of gold and 736,000 tons of copper, according to Eldorado Gold’s website. Eldorado Gold acquired three mines in Greece through its $2.4 billion purchase of European Goldfields in 2011.

Greece must “ensure the potential of foreign investment in the country” as part of its battle against “dramatic” unemployment, Citizens Protection Minister Nikolaos Dendias said in comments posted on the ministry’s website today. Unemployment in November rose to 27 percent from 26.6 percent in the previous month, according to a Feb. 14 statement from the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority.

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