'Coal mining in Antalya will destroy fruit trees, prime farming land'

The Antalya City Council has urged the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry to immediately halt coal mining projects that they've licensed in 2020, as the activity will irrevocably damage fruit trees and prime farming land that locals harvest.

"No to coal in farming center Dereköy!" reads a banner hung on the city sign by locals.

Serpil Kurtay / DUVAR

Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Ministry's projects to set up a coal mine in the Mediterranean province of Antalya will damage hundreds of hectares of farmland irrevocably, Antalya City Council Chairwoman Semanur Kurt said. 

Some 339,514 decares of farming land covered in 54,883 decares of fruit trees will be destroyed if the mining activity proceeds as planned, Kurt noted.

"The ministry gave out 10-year coal mining licenses for 1,972 decares of land in Dereköy in 2020," Kurt said, drawing on data from the city's Agriculture Working Group.

An initial request for mining to the ministry was denied in June of 2020, but a second petition was accepted on the grounds that the area covered by the mine had been decreased, Kurt said.

"This whole area is prime farming land covered in watering canals built over the years. Some of the land where the mine will be located is currently covered in apple, apricot, pear, and cherry trees," Kurt added. 

The destruction of farming land will also hurt locals who make a living on agriculture, Kurt noted, and urged an immediate halt to all mining work in the area.