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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
Name of conflict:Ada Tepe Gold Mine, Bulgaria
State or province:Kurdjali
Location of conflict:Krumovgrad
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:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Expected extraction volumes (total): >850,000 ounces of gold over life of mine Years of operation: 8-9

Project area:200000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2005
Company names or state enterprises:Dundee Precious Metals from Canada
Balkan Mineral and Mining from Bulgaria
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Ministry of Environment and Waters, Ministers Council
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Za Zemiata, Balkani, Centre for Environmental Education and Information, Life for Krumovgrad
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Development 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-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)


Law on Mineral Resources

ARHUS Convention

Nature Protection Law

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

EJOLT report: Mining from an International Perspective.
[click to view]

Ada Tepe Gold Deposit EIS, Krumovgrad, Bulgaria: Technical Comments. Robert Moran
[click to view]

[click to view]

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Meta information
Contributor:Dragomira Raeva
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:337
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