Body of trapped miner found 66 days after Turkey's mine disaster

Sixty-six days after the mining disaster in the İliç district of eastern Erzincan province, a vehicle containing a worker's body was discovered buried under soil mixed with cyanide. Nine workers were initially trapped, with only two bodies successfully recovered.

Duvar English

Search teams on April 19 reached the body of a worker inside a vehicle 66 days after the disaster that occurred in the gold mine site in İliç district of eastern Erzincan province, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar announced on X.

Erzincan Governor Hamza Aydoğdu stated that the body belonged to miner Adnan Keklik and expressed his condolences to the family.

Nine workers on Feb. 13 were trapped under tonnes of soil contaminated with chemicals after a heap exceeding recommended amounts slid, exposing cyanide to the environment. On April 5, Uğur Yıldız's body were rescued seven weeks after the disaster.

While the public prosecutor who came to the region started an investigation, the Turkish Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) teams have been continuing to work to remove the vehicle.

Rescue teams still could not reach seven workers trapped under the soil mass.

What happened?

The accident was a result of a series of decisions by the operator Anagold Mining Company and the Turkish officials, neglecting workers’ safety and the environment.

After the accident, the Environment Ministry revoked the license of the mine.

Six suspects, including the Canadian manager of the company and engineers employed at the mine, were arrested as part of the investigation launched by the Erzincan Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.

Another three suspects were released on judicial control measures.

Experts noted that such a disaster at the mine was a long time coming, despite their repeated warnings.

Attorneys from The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) filed a petition to an Erzincan court in November 2023, months before the accident, warning against “demolition, sliding, and slipping risks” in the mining facilities.

In 2022, the mine was shut down for 88 days after a cyanide leak was detected. The Turkish Environment Ministry approved a three-fold capacity increase at the mine after the accident.

Although the Ministry rejected claims of cyanide leakage to the Euphrates River, experts held that exposure of such magnitudes would harm the environment even without direct contact with the river.