During the previous decades, and especially during the period of the so-called Greek Economic Miracle (1950 – 1973), the implementation of the Marshall Plan, among others, led to the significant development of the chemical and mining industry.
In the suburban areas of the Attica basin and in particular in Boeotia region, intensive mining activity was developed, with typical examples of bauxite mining in the Corinthian Gulf and nickel near the dry lake of Kopida. At the same time, two examples of industrial workers’ settlements were created to meet the needs of the workforce: the village “White Houses” and the settlement of “Neo Kokkino” (formerly Agios Ioannis).
Kopaida area, previous known as Lake Kopais was a lake in Viotia region in central Greece, about 130 km from Athens. Between 1867 and 1887, Scots and French engineers reclaimed the land for the British Lake Copais Company by building irrigation canals in order to drain water from the lake. Since the beginning of the 20th century, its fertile soils have been cultivated systematically by local farmers. In the early 1950s large amounts of nickel deposits where discovered under that the drained lake and the outskirt mountains. In 1963 a private company called LARCO was established in the area focusing on the exploitation of the deposits. Today the area consists of one underground and three surface active mines, the largest of them situated near the village “Kokkino”, named as the “island”.
The village “Kokkino” which firstly inhabited probably by Albanian genders around the13th century, today has 618 inhabitants. In the late ’60s, in order to accommodate the miners, a second private settlement was established 2 km from the village and named as Neo Kokkino (“New Red”). Although many inhabitants are working in the nearby mines and the smelting plant, the old village is facing a high number of unemployment. The mining activity is affecting the village’s daily life in multiple ways: the infrastructure in danger due a high number of shallow earthquakes and the nearby farmland is constantly under threat due to heavy industrial pollution. Since the early 2010s, a fourth surface mine is being opened close to the workers’ settlement threatening it with abandonment.