Eti Silver Cyanide Mine, Turkey


Turkeys biggest silver mine is owned by Eti Silver Corporation (privatised in 2004) and is located in Kutahyas Tavsanli district. The mine activity uses cyanide for extracting and processing the silver element; recently, cyanide loaded water leaked from the immense storage pools and reached the groundwater as a result of an accident due to excessive rains. This accident provoked disastrous groundwater pollution and has raised the question of the already alarming level of groundwater contamination.

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Basic Data
NameEti Silver Cyanide Mine, Turkey
SiteTavsanli, Gumuskoy
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project Details300 tons of silver is extracted annually. (This amount was around 60 tons until recently.) 15 million m3 cyanide water is being stored Between 800-1000 miners are employed at the site (300 of whom come from 6 neighbouring villages).

Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1986
Company Names or State EnterprisesEti Silver Corporation from Turkey
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKutahya Gumuskoy Monitoring Platform
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
OtherLoss of income, difficulties in access to water, loss of cultural heritage
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Policies of denial and making people forget
Development of AlternativesThe silver mine belonging to Eti Silver located in Kutahya Gumuskoy should be closed immediately. Public authorities responsible for the disaster should be judged as soon as possible. All fired miners should be compensated. The legal rights of the miners still working at the facility should be paid by the corporation and workers should be placed at other jobs by the state. All unjust treatment and losses of the locals, whose water, land and animals have been contaminated, should be compensated by the state. The health of the nearby villagers should be assessed urgently; local people should be informed about the health effects of cyanide and heavy metals and their health situation should be monitored on a prospective basis.

(By Kutahya Gumuskoy Monitoring Platform)
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.There are no locals who can show a harsh reaction to the project any longer as many of them have migrated due to the soil pollution. Mining companies give the impression that the economic returns of the mine are more important than the ecological loss. The conflict is at the court but the mining operation continues at full speed if not faster.
Sources and Materials

Regulation on Reclamation of Lands Disturbed by Mining Activities

Turkish Mining Law numbered 3213,

Groundwater Law numbered 167,

Health and Safety Standards Regulation on below and aboveground Mining Operations,


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Meta Information
ContributorSerkan Kaptan
Last update08/04/2014