13 June 2017

The Amyntaiou lignite mine landslide in Greece: more information

Posted by Dave Petley

The Amyntaiou lignite mine landslide in Greece: more information

Over the last 24 hours more information has emerged about the Amyntaiou lignite mine landslide in Greece, which led to the permanent evacuation of the village of Anargyroi in Northern Greece on Saturday.  Perhaps most interestingly, a video has been posted on Youtube that shows the landslide as it occurred.  Whilst the quality of the video is not high, at about the 38 second mark it does seem to show one of the large excavators toppling:-


The operator of the mine, PPC, has announced the formulation of a commission of inquiry to investigate the failure, with a committee drawn from industry and academia.

Meanwhile, a variety of information seems to have emerged about the losses from the landslide.  Greek Reporter has a rather extraordinary claim:-

Other than the total destruction of the Anargyroi village, the tectonic rupture caused by the lignite mine that belongs to the  Public Power Corporation (PPC) generated a huge financial loss to the already ailing company.

Specifically, 25 million tons of lignite worth 500 million euros and 100 million worth of excavating machinery and vehicles were buried under 80 million cubic meters of earth. According to PPC-GENOP union president Giorgos Adamidis, the total damage, including the end of operation of the Amyntaio power unit, may well exceed 1.5 billion euros.

The landslides also caused collateral losses to the stability of the power system as it is uncertain whether the two lignite power plants of Amyntaio, with total capacity of 600 megawatts, will operate again. Even though the two lignite units were fully operational from October to April, power supply shortages might occur.

Also, the effect of the landslides might be felt by 1,700 people who are at risk of finding themselves without a job. PPC was employing 850 workers at the Anargyroi mine, while there were 500 people employed by the contractors. Also, on Friday, one day before the landslide, another 350 seasonal employees were hired by PPC to work in the facilities.

PPC is denying these claims, claiming that losses are likely to be in the order of 200 million Euros.  Even so, this is an exceptionally expensive landslide.

Amyntaiou landslide

The Amyntaiou landslide in Greece. Image by Eurokinissi via CNN