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ELMIN invites the Chilean miners and their families to rest on the Greek islands for free

20 October 2010 / 11:10:48  GRReporter
7918 reads

I would like to pay a little more attention to the dangers of this profession. 21 miners perished in China just this weekend. Several others were buried in Ecuador. This number is much smaller in Europe. Could you explain what the most common causes of accidents are? What practices are necessary to prevent them and what is the role of the European Union and the state as supervisory authorities in mining?

I would not like to make a comparison between this activity in Europe and other parts of the world. I do not think it would be fair, nor accurate. I can definitely say that the European Union has imposed very strict rules for mining activities. The relevant body in Greece is the Inspectorate of Mines. It is a public body that supervises closely and strictly the activities of all mines in the country. Of course, there are a series of procedures before issuing a license to operate mines and mining equipment. The company is also required to provide technical study that includes a detailed explanation of how the activity would be operated and supervised. Once the documents are reviewed and the green light for developing the business is given, the company is obliged to operate in compliance with the practices stipulated in the approved study. Mines exploitation regulations is also observed as it includes working methods, experience of staff, rules for action in different situations, activities related with emergency situations, etc.

All actions and rules the law and internal company policies provide are very closely related to security. It is of utmost importance for both company employees and management. A company in this industry has no future if it does not comply with security rules.  

We haven’t heard of tragic accidents in Greece for years, right?  

Look, there are accidents but they can be compared with recent events in Chile in no way. We are generally speaking about employment accidents of almost no consequences. Here in Greece we have no cases of people buried alive under the ground as in Chile or the like and this is, of course, due to the rock massifs of the country.  

Tell us more about your company and its activity. One of the main resources ELMIN extracts is bauxite which is used in aluminum production. How much of your production is for the domestic market and how much do you export? Which are your main customers and to which countries do you export the most?  

ELMIN was a state company until 1999. It became privately managed after the announced privatization auction. As you said, the main production is bauxite used exclusively in the production of aluminum but also in the cement industry. We have about 200 employees in total – 130 people permanently assigned in the mines and around 70 people in administration and transport.

Our company focuses exclusively on external markets as we export about 98% of the production. Half of the export is targeted to the European market and the other half is distributed to the markets of North America and South Africa.

There is much of a talk today in Greece about privatization and unprofitable public enterprises. Can you give us an overall picture of how ELMIN changed after the privatization?  

If we are to speak in figures, the truth is that the company turnover increased eightfold and the number of employees is four times larger than the period when ELMIN was a state enterprise. We hold a leading position among the Greek export companies and I can safely say that the privatization model applied to our company definitely is an example of success. The state could not find a successful formula for managing the company for many years. But the company, however, settled and operates in the private sector. We managed to increase not only turnover and jobs, but we applied innovative technologies and practices that made us competitive on the international market. I can say that we are proud of the results and of what we achieved so far.

If we talk about privatization and management in the private sector it is important to note that each activity has a value and accountability, and nothing is free. The responsibility and concern is greater and the need to prevent the business from different risks is the basis for decision making.

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