Controversial gold mining company Alamos Gold's sub-firm Doğu Biga's CEO Ahmet Şentürk has said that they are determined to extract the underground mine in Kaz Mountains despite the outcry of environmentalists and rights activists.
“Vigil for Water and Conscience, and so and so, bla bla. Everyone has the right to do everything. They can come and set up their tents. They have waited for 400 days or so. They can wait however they want, everyone has the right to hold a demonstration. They can hold a concert. I would not put different meanings on them. We are miners; we are patient,” Şentürk told Deutsche Welle's Turkish service in an interview on March 29.
"30 yıldır bekliyoruz madeni açmak için. 3-5 ay daha bekleriz"— DW Türkçe (@dw_turkce) March 29, 2021
"Su ve Vicdan Nöbeti vesaire. Herkesin gösteri hakkına saygım var"
Kaz Dağları'nda altın çıkarmak isteyen Doğu Biga Madencilik Genel Müdürü Ahmet Şentürk, DW Türkçe'nin sorularını yanıtladı: https://t.co/dKvaIcMqmD pic.twitter.com/mIvicnO6Gi
“Our mine has waited for 30 million years and we have been waiting for 30 years to open the mine. We would wait three-five months more, it is not a problem,” he said.
Alamos Gold held a ten-year operation license in the western mountains, but their operations triggered environmental concern as deforestation at the site seemed to reach irreversible levels.
The company was protested by thousands who flocked to Kaz Mountains in 2019.
Near the town of Kirazlı in the province of Çanakkale in northwestern Turkey, environmentalists have for months slept in tents as part of what they called a “Vigil for Water and Conscience.”
The last remaining environmentalists have continued their vigil until September 2020, when they were cleared from the camping site and detained by gendarmerie officials. Many more others were fined over this period on the grounds of violating COVID-19 precautions.
Although the government has not yet renewed Alamos Gold's license to operate on forest land upon its expiration in 2019, Şentürk said that the firm holds the right to a 60-year license.
“As of 2019, all the permissions have been granted. Our project has no problem. We hold every right with regards to the ore. The mining we will undertake is obvious. Our project is environment-friendly. We are patient and the state of the Turkish Republic will give us our right,” he said.