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16 April 2005
4000-year-old Cypriot copper mine for sale

A copper mine in Cyprus where the metal has been mined for some 4,000 years faces closure unless the Church o fCyprus can find a buyer. The Skouriotissa mine suspended operations in January, leaving its workers unpaid and with debts labour unions estimate at 14 million pounds.
     According to the Semitic Museum at Harvard University, the ancient Romans leased the mines to the highest bidder. In 12 BCE rights tomines in the area went to King Herod, who was allowed to keep half the profits. Now, despite high world copper prices, the mine faces the risk of permanent closure.
     "The Church itself lost about 8.5 million pounds from this, we kept it running for as long as possible," said Bishop Chrysostomos, who handles financial affairs of the Church of Cyprus. The Church is in consultations with Mytilineos to dispose of the stake to an unnamed third party. "We don't have a deal yet, we are waiting for them to answer," Chrysostomos said.

Sources: Reuters, SwissInfo (16 April 2005)

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