FOUR villages in the Paphos district have called on the Green Party to help them prevent the establishment of a gold refining factory in the area, which they said would have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing, according to Paphos Green Party district secretary.
“The village of Ayia Varvara in Paphos has given permission for a gold factory to be established in their industrial area, but four other villages which are close by are totally against the idea,” said Paphos Green Party district secretary, Andreas Evlavis.
The residents are to meet on Tuesday night in at the community hall in Anarita at 7pm. The meeting is to be attended by Paphos MPs and members of the Green Party.
Evlavis said the company, Khrysanera Ltd, has already been granted permission for a gold factory at Aradippou in Larnaca, after lengthy discussions, and that they now want to establish a further one in Paphos.
Residents of Aradippou and of neighbouring communities staged a number of protests against the construction of the gold refinery plant. The Aradippou council postponed a decision on the matter several times, due to local opposition.
However, in December last year, Aradippou councillors narrowly voted in favour of the factory, with six in favour, five against and one abstention.
“Perhaps the company are unsure of the viability of the Aradippou factory as opposition was strong and people are not happy about it,” he said. “Paphos may be like a backup plan.”
Evlavis said that residents of Anarita, Kouklia, Timi and Achaelia villages are concerned that the factory may cause huge health problems as well as environmental problems.
“They use chemicals to clean the gold which are highly toxic and they are also worried about any ensuring accidents, and the negative impact that could have on the environment,” said Evlavis.
Green Party MP, George Perdikis and Evlavis met recently with the community leaders and worried residents of Anarita, Kouklia, Timi, Acheleia and Ayia Varvara, to hear their concerns, especially concerning any toxic waste and gas emissions from the plant.
“Mr Perdikis said that he would investigate the matter and convey the concerns of the residents of the affected communities to the competent authorities,” said Evlavis.
The Green Party secretary added that they had discovered that a plot of land in the area has already been earmarked by the government for the company.
“We find that very alarming, and some of the Paphos businessmen are involved. Also, the environmental research which the company presented for Paphos was the one they undertook for Aradippou. This isn’t logical and can’t be acceptable as Paphos is a completely different area.”
Evlavis said that an environmental impact study must be taken concerning the intended area for the Paphos factory, as a first step.
“The Paphos Green party is will be on the side of the people, because the health and environmental protection should be placed above anything of any financial interests”.
It is reported that the private enterprise, Khrysanera Ltd, will invest around €55 million and that the factory will process imported gold which will then be exported as gold bars.
Officials from the Paphos Chamber of Commerce and Industry previously said they were keen on hosting the plant.