Konstantinos Yazitzoglou, President of the Board of Directors at the Mining Enterprises Association and CEO of GEOHELLAS SA, highlighted the potential prospects emerging for Greece through the effective utilization of its mineral wealth. He addressed environmental concerns amid the imperative green transition in an exclusive interview with ot.gr.

“Our country possesses noteworthy deposits of various primary minerals. Regardless of whether some are deemed critical, there is a clear economic and geopolitical interest in their entirety. Exploiting these resources requires initial completion of geological survey stages. Our association closely collaborates with the Ministry and the Hellenic Geological Survey for expediting the required geological studies. Additionally, there is an expressed political will, both at the national and European level, to streamline and accelerate the mining project licensing system,” he stressed.

He emphasized the importance of ensuring investment competitiveness, heavily influenced by European-level decisions. However, the EU struggles with coordinating strategies and assessing policy interactions. Underestimating policy consequences, as seen with recent natural gas issues, can have severe impacts on investments.

Yazitzoglou highlighted the scarcity of skilled labor, stating, “Greece is fortunate to have notable scientists to meet industry needs but suffers from a severe deficit of specialized technical personnel. Modern mining machinery requires operators with a solid general education and significant expertise in specific skills. Unfortunately, Greece lacks suitable educational structures for these specialties. Our association engages with the government to address these gaps. Presently, there is a serious shortage of skilled operators for modern mining machinery.”

Regarding our planet’s ability to meet demands he stressed that the shift to green practices requires changes in how we produce and consume. To achieve this, new production methods reliant on raw materials are necessary. The current energy production systems need a complete overhaul, as existing equipment is insufficient for future environmental sustainability. This raises concerns about meeting global demand levels while ensuring sustainability.

Yazitzoglou also noted that demand for metals and industrial minerals are determined by international prices while competitiveness relies on geopolitical, economic, and regulatory interventions, mainly at the EU level. Prospects currently appear positive, with the exorbitant cost of electricity being the sole area of concern.

“Inactive materials focus on local construction, indicating growth in various project types,” he stated. “Energy minerals mimic global fossil fuel patterns, which have been unfavorable lately,” he concluded.