Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
Mining and quarrying represented only 1.8 percent of GDP in 1991 and 0.6 percent of total employment in 1989. Despite the small size of the mining industry, however, its importance lies in the significant mineral wealth of Greece. Lignite has an important role in electricity generation. Bauxite, the raw material for aluminum production, is also found in abundance in Greece, with known reserves of 1 billion tons. There are also substantial deposits of ferronickel ores, magnesite, mixed sulfurous ores, ferrochrome ores, kaolin, asbestos, and marble. Recovery of metallic ores remains concentrated in the hands of a few large companies. In 1988 there were sixty-two mining operations, employing 2,696 persons, an average of forty-three workers per company. Quarry production, on the other hand, is fragmented among many small enterprises. In 1988 some 945 quarries were in operation, employing a total of 6,362 persons, an average of about seven persons per establishment.
Among the main mineral ores being mined, 1990 production was as follows: 4.3 million tons of asbestos, 2.5 million tons of bauxite, 2.1 million tons of nickel ore, 697,000 tons of magnesite, and 177,000 tons of chromite. A portion of this production is exported in raw form, but beginning in the 1980s, concerted efforts have been made to develop domestic processing capability.
Bauxite processing has been a major element of industrial metallurgy development projects in Greece. A major investment by the French Pechiney group in the 1960s was the first important step in the processing of Greek bauxite and the production of alumina (semiprocessed aluminum ore) and aluminum. In the mid-1980s, Greece signed an agreement with the Soviet Union for construction of a large alumina plant with a ten-year buyback arrangement for a large part of the plant's output. After the agreement was revised and the plan delayed, Greece again is actively pursuing this project in the mid-1990s. The plant's projected production capacity is be 600,000 tons a year, making it the major user of Greek bauxite.
Data as of December 1994
NOTE: The information regarding Greece on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Greece Mining information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Greece Mining should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.