Mining firm 'won't leave Kaz Mountains' despite lacking license
Controversial gold mining company Alamos Gold's sub-firm Doğu Biga's CEO Ahmet Şentürk said that they had no intention of abandoning Kaz Mountains, even though their license to use the forest land was not renewed by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry after it expired in October of 2019. Alamos Gold's activities prompted nationwide outrage in Turkey in 2019, which is primarily considered the reason why Ankara moved to halt operations, although the site had already suffered mass deforestation.
Controversial mining company Alamos Gold has no intention of abandoning Kaz Mountains even though the firm's licence to operate on forest land was not renewed by Ankara upon expiration in 2019, most likely as a result of mass public outrage against the environmental destruction at the site.
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, and their operation license was not renewed by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry upon expiration, but they hold the rights to a 60-year license, Doğu Biga Mining CEO Ahmet Şentürk said.
"We're not moving an inch from Kaz Mountains, we have the rights to 60 years of licenses. We will excavate the mines in the ground like we promised the Turkish Republic," Şentürk told the daily Hürriyet.
The CEO pointed to the first amendment of Turkey's Mining Code that allows the excavation of underground resources for the welfare of the public and claimed that this was what Alamos Gold was doing via Doğu Biga.
"We invested $140 million in Turkey directly, and another $240 million indirectly," the CEO said. "Our main investment was made into research and location efforts for the gold."
The company also paid millions of liras to the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry in deforestation fines, Şentürk noted, although these were not investments, and said that they were not responsible for the trees that were cut down.
The company will be done excavating $4 billion worth of gold in the Kirazlı site on the mountains in a total of nine years, and will allegedly leave the site even better rehabilitated than before, Şentürk said.
An application for a license renewal by Alamos Gold is still in evaluation, the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry said on March 3 in response to a parliamentary question.