A Vancouver mining company says its planned gold mine in Greece that has spurred local opposition isn't a threat to the environment.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Saturday in Greece's second largest city of Thessaloniki to protest the Eldorado Gold Corp. mine set to operate east of the city.

Eldorado vice-president Nancy Woo says activists' concerns that the mine will pollute the environment are wrong.

She says the mine, which is set to begin digging soon, will follow the necessary European Union and Greek environmental rules.

Activists say the mine will put out toxic substances and throttle the local tourism industry.

But others living near the mine site on the Halkidiki peninsula say the project will pump badly needed jobs into the hard-hit Greek economy.