JOE FOSTER, PORTFOLIO MANAGER: We recently took a research trip to Greece for two reasons: to gauge the geopolitical landscape in Greece after all the turmoil that we have been reading about in the papers, and secondly, to see what the potential is for gold mining in Greece. Regarding the geopolitical situation, Greece was the first one to fall in the EU in terms of their debt problems. That has been one of the drivers of the gold price.
You do not really see breadlines or the things we associate with the Depression of the 1930s, but when you speak to people, you do find that a lot of people are having a really, really tough time. People are having trouble just affording necessities for their families. Everyone knows someone who is having those types of difficulties. As you get out of the core of the cities, you see shops that are empty and restaurants without many customers.
MINING IN GREECE
We visited several gold properties in Greece and these are properties that have been around for quite some time. In fact, they would have been developed in the last cycle, back in the 1990s, if Greece was friendlier towards mining. The country has always had concerns about environmental liabilities, cultural issues and things of that nature towards mining. More recently, the country needs economic growth. They need jobs. They have taken a second look at mining and we are actually seeing these gold properties being developed. They have created a fast-track program for businesses—not just for mining, but for all businesses where permits have a timeline for approval or disapproval, whatever the case may be—they're trying to move these projects forward to generate the jobs that the country needs. These are robust gold properties. Again, they were economic in the 1990s – they are very profitable properties today at current gold prices. That is one exciting development that we are seeing out of Greece.
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