Ada Tepe Gold Mine, Bulgaria


The Canadian company Dundee Precious Metals has an interest in starting a new gold mine in the vicinity of Krumovgrad, on the territory of the Natura 2000 site Ada Tepe. Initially the company planned to extract the gold using a cyanide-based method, but during the public hearing of the project in 2005, it became clear that the local communities and the Krumovgrad municipality would not accept the cyanide use. The company then reworked the investment proposal and elaborated a second EIA. The public discussions of which happened in the summer of 2011. Although no cyanide will be used in the gold extraction process, the locals and the municipality want a clean and ecological development of their region, no mine developments and welcome. Moreover, the project lacks clarity regarding the water management in the industrial process, the transportation plans, the mobility of heavy metals in the uncovered land masses which gives enough reasons to the municipality and a coalition of environmental NGOs to start a series of court cases against the realisation of the mining project. As of November 2011, the final decision on the gold mine concession that Balkan Mineral and Mining obtained from the Government in October 2011 lies within the competency of the Minister of Environment. If she accepts the current EIA, the company will be free to proceed with signing up a concession contract and begin the work on the mine.

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Basic Data
NameAda Tepe Gold Mine, Bulgaria
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsExpected extraction volumes (total): >850,000 ounces of gold over life of mine Years of operation: 8-9
Project Area (in hectares)200000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesDundee Precious Metals from Canada
Balkan Mineral and Mining from Bulgaria
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Ministry of Environment and Waters, Ministers Council
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersZa Zemiata, Balkani, Centre for Environmental Education and Information, Life for Krumovgrad
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
New legislation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this as a success?No
Sources and Materials

Nature Protection Law


Law on Mineral Resources

ARHUS Convention


Ada Tepe Gold Deposit EIS, Krumovgrad, Bulgaria: Technical Comments. Robert Moran
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EJOLT report: Mining from an International Perspective.
[click to view]


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Meta Information
ContributorDragomira Raeva
Last update08/04/2014