Aegean locals defend mountain against misinformation of mining project

Locals from the Aegean Muğla's Köyceğiz village have prepared two reports to refute a mining company's misinformation on the expansion of a mining project, and an insufficient examination of the project's environmental impact by the state. The area targeted by the project is covered under government decrees deeming the region a natural protection zone, locals pointed out.

Osman Çaklı / DUVAR

Locals of Aegean Muğla's Köyceğiz village are resisting the expansion of a mining project by Alfa Olivin Corp. that would take up 142 hectares of untouched forest on the Sandras Mountain. The locals have prepared two separate reports refuting what they think is an insufficient evaluation of the project's environmental impact by the state.

The company's proposal for the expansion license includes areas covered under a state decree that deems the region a protected zone, Köyceğiz Tourism and Natural Protection Association noted in their report.

The local Dalyan Association conceded that the company's environmental impact report on the mine expansion was misleading, and that a 2016 decree from the Environment and Urbanization Ministry had in fact expanded the protection zone on the mountain. 

Home to mammals like lynxes and hyenas, the mountain also houses 63 endemic plant species, the association noted in their report, adding that it would be nearly impossible to know the true extent of the damage mining could inflict on the local flora and fauna.

"Wildlife will leave the area. The earth will be scraped off, and the oldest 36,000 trees will be cut down in our country's oldest forest, damaging the biodiversity and endemic species," the Dalyan Association said.

The land targeted by the project also receives the second largest amount of rainfall in Turkey, only after the Black Sea region's Rize province, and 72 percent of the area is covered by untouched forests, presenting a significant underground water reserve.