Caldag Nickel Mine, Turkey

Description
Located in Turgutlu district of Manisa province, Caldag nickel mine has Turkeys biggest nickel reserve with 33 million tons. However, Turgutlu, in the center of Gediz Plain, is important for its many valuable agricultural products above ground and its fertile soils more than its underground nickel reserves. Having obtained the necessary permits from the former Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the company operates in extracting and processing the nickel in a pivotal project. This marked the beginning of the local communitys struggle for closing the mine by cancelling the forest land appropriation and other permits.
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Basic Data
NameCaldag Nickel Mine, Turkey
CountryTurkey
ProvinceManisa
SiteTurgutlu
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral processing
Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Specific CommoditiesRare metals
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
The United Kingdom-based European Nickel company that had obtained the right to mine the nickel in Caldag had to give in to the united public struggle and opposition coming from farmers, industry representatives, politicians, lawyers, academicians and NGOs. On 10.12.2010, the company announced at the London Stock Exchange that it shifted its investments to the Philippines due to the fact that the forest allocation was not renewed, project financing was not secured and collaboration with the relevant institutions did not take shape.
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Project Area (in hectares)2000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Company Names or State EnterprisesVTG Nickel Holding from Turkey
European Nickel (ENK) from United Kingdom
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersTurgutlu Environment Platform (TURCEP in Turkish acroynm), Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA in Turkish acronym), Aegean Environment and Culture Platform (EGECEP in Turkish acronym), Gediz Basin Fight Against Erosion, Afforestation, Environment and Development Foundation (GEMA in Turkish acronym)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Villagers, trade chambers, national NGOs.
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
OtherPotential difficulties in access to water, potential damage on cultural heritage
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The project could be stopped and the conflict between European Nickel Company and the local community has officially ended on December 2012, which can be considered as an Environmental Justice success. However, the struggle is continuing since it was not a struggle against a single company but rather it was focused on the potential damages of nickel mining in the region.

After about a year from its decision to leave Turkey (December 2010), European Nickel sold its rights in Caldag to VTG Nickel company (October 2011). TURCEP and TEMA closely follow the developments.
Sources and Materials
References

(in Turkish)
[click to view]

Links

Mining Weekly
[click to view]

Feni Mining
[click to view]

Alda nickel mines new owner dismisses claims of harming the environment - Todays Zaman
[click to view]

Media Links

Galeri
[click to view]

TV program on the ecological damage Caldag Nickel Mine creates, the CHP parliamentarian Hasan Oren explains the case (In Turkish):
[click to view]

TV Program about the effects of Caldag Nickel Mine on Gediz Plain (In Turkish):
[click to view]

Demonstrations of TEMA (In Turkish):
[click to view]

Panel with the title Is Akhisar under threat? featured on a local TV program (In Turkish):
[click to view]

Photo Gallery of resistance movement:

Other CommentsThe conflict between European Nickel company and the local community has officially ended on December 2012. However, the struggle is continuing since it was not a struggle against a single company but rather it was focused on the potential damages of nickel mining in the region.

After about a year from its decision to leave Turkey (December 2010), European Nickel sold its rights in Caldag to VTG Nickel company (October 2011). TURCEP and TEMA closely follow the developments.
Meta Information
ContributorOzgul Erdemli Mutlu
Last update08/04/2014
Comments