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Παρασκευή, 3 Αυγούστου 2012

Review of mining/metallurgical industry in Greece, years 2010-2011. (II)

[by Peter G. Tzeferis]
Production of huntite / hydromagnesite (crude product), from WHITE MINERALS SA, a subsidiary of Ankerpoort, amounted in 2011 to 23.800 thousand tn (12.800 from concession 72 to 11.000 from concession 74 both in Servia Kozani), showing a steady upward trend in both production and sales compared to the previous year 2010.

In 2011 olivine production increased significantly reaching 55 thousand tn (THERMOLITH SA) of crude ore while attapulgite clays (GEOELLAS) and amphibolites (FIBRAN SA) maintained their export orientation using mostly existing reserves to feed their factories in 2011. For these minerals should be noted that in addition to the numerous uses that cover the needs of the chemical, manufacturing industry, steel industry, refractory, etc. are widely used in environmental uses (in refining and waste management, as molecular filters, filtering and insulation, etc.)

However, despite this relatively good performance for ores, metals and industrial minerals where demand remains high and there is a clear export orientation, the home field and the prolonged downturn in the domestic market led sector companies that depend on it (e.g. aggregates) in problematic operation and in some cases closure. Specifically, the sector of construction aggregate materials before the crisis period, culminating in the period of the Olympic Games, reached  around 100 million tn annually, while  in 2010 fell to 50 million tn and in 2011 at 35-38 million tn, marking an unprecedented downturn.

In 2011, silica and pozzolan related industries faced negative performance due to shrinkage of the domestic building and construction activity. It is indicative that the production of silica for 2011 (by the LAVA SA) from Milos island was only 1671 tn and the total annual country production of pozzolan did not exceed the historic low of 300 thousand tn. Depending affected products and ceramic industry, cement/concrete products, calcium carbonate (marble, building mortars, etc.) and pumice which-despite a slight increase compared to 2010 - remained at low output levels below 500 thousand tn. Specifically, pumice produced by Gyali Nysirou island (LAVA SA) reached about 470 th tn of crude material from which 397 th. tn sold in the market, 275 th. tn (sales value of 2,6 million euros) in foreign markets and 122 thousand tn (1,2 million) in the domestic market. In periods before the crisis, the production and distribution of pumice from the Gyali island steadily exceeded 800 thousand tn and value sales over 6.7 million.

The domestic production of brown coal (“lignite”) by Public Power Copr. (PPC) exceeded 56.80 million tn, slightly increased compared with that of 2010 (55.96 million tn). Analytically, 47.43 million tn came from Western Macedonia Lignite Center (LKDM) and 9.37 million tn of the Megalopolis Lignite Centre (LKM), excavations which together account for 348.71 million cubic meters. Also, other lignite mines, excluding PPC, mainly “Axlada” mine (Rosa) and Servia Kozani (Larco), produced a total of over 1.6 million tn also available for power plants of LKDM. Based on the above data, the contribution of lignite in the energy mix on the interconnected system of the country in 2011 exceeded 55% while the corresponding participation in the whole country (including non-interconnected islands) was 49.5%, demonstrating the dominance of lignite reserves in the country's energy scene.

The industry of marble products and ornamental stone, despite the severe impact of the crisis on domestic consumption mainly managed to maintain and improve the productive performance of approximately 10%. In 2010-11, the total production of marble products exceeded 1 million tn annually while Greek exports of marble sector exceeded their total of 753.8 thousand tn worth over 155 million € (in 2010) and 830.8 thousand tn worth more than 205 million € (in 2011), increased annually by more than 10% in quantity and 30% in value.

Specifically, in 2011, exports marble to China, the main market for Greek marble, totaled 377.4 thousand tn worth over 75 million euros, representing 45.4% of total quantity and 36.9% of the total value of Greek exports marble. The increase compared to 2010 was over 25% in volume and over 66% in value, while impressive is the fact that from the total quantity of exports to China, the vast majority (more than 95%) was in the form of marble blocks.