Pro-gov’t firm defies court ruling, demands new EIA report for mine project in Kaz Mountains

The pro-government company Cengiz Holding has filed an application to obtain a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to operate a copper mine in the heavily contested Kaz Mountains in northwestern Turkey. Last year, an expert report had ruled against the environmental clearance given to the project.

This file photo shows locals protesting Cengiz Holding's mining project in Kaz Mountains.

Seçkin Sağlam

The Cengiz Holding company, known for its close ties with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, has filed for the third time to get an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for a mining project in the contested Kaz Mountains in western Turkey.

The company appealed a previous expert report ruling against the environmental clearance given to the Halilağa Copper Mining Project and demanded a new expert examination.

The Kaz Mountains Ecological Platform commented on the issue, saying that the company has been trying to influence and oppress the judiciary process.

“We want the Cengiz Holding company to leave Kaz Mountains. Despite the decision for a stay of execution (by the court for the project), the company unlawfully continues to undertake road works. While experts have been presenting the results of the project which will poison the region and damage its cultural values, the firm cannot stand seeing these results,” the NGO said.

“When the appeals submitted by the company are analyzed in a detailed way, it is seen in an explicit way that the company is trying to put the court and experts under pressure…We believe that the court will not be deceived by such games of the company.”

The company’s request to obtain a new EIA application will be evaluated by the judiciary on Oct. 13.  

The Cengiz Holding firm purchased a copper mine in the Kaz Mountains from its Canadian owner, Liberty Gold, for 55 million dollars.

This sparked widespread protests during which activists temporarily forced the company to halt its activities in the Kaz Mountains. Environmentalists have repeatedly warned that the project would be disastrous for the region.

On Nov. 21, 2021, the Çanakkale Administrative Court committee conducted an expert examination regarding the project, which was handed to the company and the environmental organizations involved. The report stated that the Environment and Urbanization Ministry's “positive evaluation” of the EIA report was “inappropriate.”

(English version by Didem Atakan)