Turkey’s Mining and Petroleum Works Directorate (MAPEG) offered nearly one million hectares of mining land in 68 different cities in an Aug. 24 tender.
Research and management licenses for some 766 sites of grade four mines will be sold on tender until Sept. 28.
The sites include valuable metals like gold, silver and platinum, industrial supplies like sodium, potassium and lithium, and energy sources like coal and uranium.
MAPEG sold a total of around 1,000 mining sites in 2018 and 2019.
Hatay: Nine sites on tender
Local Iskenderun Environmental Protection Association Chairwoman Nermin Yıldırım Kara said that locals don’t even know where the nine mining sites on tender are located.
“We’re trying to figure it out through the coordinates. We don’t know whether these are forests, farmland or just plains,” Yıldırım Kara said. “Those metals could show up anywhere.”
The chairwoman noted that mining in any part of the province would either pollute natural resources, or harm protected areas like the Arsuz Meryem Ana Church.
Uşak: 18 sites on tender
Some 18 sites that span over 10,000 hectares of land will be put on tender on Sept. 24 in western Uşak, which already houses 21 active mining sites.
The sites near the Banaz district are covered in thick forest and house valuable water sources, environmental activist Funda Öz Akcura said.
“The pollution or redirection of the water beds will affect agriculture not only in Uşak, but in the Aegean region as a whole,” Akcura said.
The local environmental rights defender said that the region observed detrimental effects of mines in nearby Eşme and Kışladağ gold mines, where cyanide pools released harmful gases in the air and caused the local fauna to die out.
Artvin: 15 mining sites on tender
Previously on the news for locals’ protest of mining work in nearby Cerattepe, northern Artvin houses 15 mining sites that will be placed on tender on Aug. 26.
Local environmental rights defender lawyer Bedrettin Kalın said that Ankara’s tender of some 766 mining sites at once disregards the unique challenges each location may present.
“A mass tender to manage these sites will cause severe environmental issues,” Kalın said.
The lawyer said that the government is prioritizing mining enterprises’ benefit over the preservation of the environment.
Denizli: 12 mining sites on tender
Some 12 mining sites will be placed on tender on Aug. 31.
The sites that will be on tender are close to residential areas, farm land, forests and ancient remains.
One site is four kilometers from a waterfall and seven kilometers from a water reservoir, with a stream running nearby; two other sites are within 10 kilometers of an ancient settlement and an ancient temple.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Gülizar Biçer Karaca said that Denizli locals “wouldn’t allow” any company to even touch the sites that will be placed on tender.
“We will place these sites under blockade both legally, and physically,” Karaca said.
Hakkari: Five sites on tender
MAGEP’s tender on five sites located in the Cilo-Sat Mountains and nearby valleys was met with public outcry in southeastern Hakkari.
Local Cilo Mountaineering and Outdoor Sports Club started a petition to urge locals to protest the tender.