The authorities of the Cycladic island of Milos appealed to the Greek central government in 2007 to suspend their plans to issue new licenses for mining on the island. The local government said they needed time to consider the implications of new mining activity on the island’s proposed land planning project. The Greek Ministry of Development had prepared a draft bill that critics said would give the mining companies an unfair advantage to the detriment of the island’s land development activities.
The Milos islanders have vehemently opposed the proposed bill that would allow areas with a cluster of quarries to be zoned off and reserved exclusively for the mining of barite. The Mayor of Milos, Giorgos Tsainis, has sought an exemption from Article 4 of the draft bill for special exploitation zones, saying the island needed “to create a clear framework of rules that will set out the future of the island.” However, the Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas has denied the allegation that the draft bill would favor mining companies at the expense of the development of Milos and similar islands.
The controversial issue has raised a debate about centralized planning (as in the former Soviet Union) versus decentralized local development. The critics of the proposed bill say that local governments would be left to face the negative consequences of uncontrolled mining activity approved without the consent of the island’s authorities.