Last update:
2019-08-09

Ida Mountain (Kazdagi) Prospecting for Gold, Turkey

Alamos Gold from Canada (since 2010) and other companies prospect for gold, against local opposition. The project stopped in 2013. Attempts to renew it have encountered this time nation-wide opposition in 2019.


Description:

The region which was partially declared a national park in 1993, is also rich with minerals (particularly gold and silver), and these are being plundered by foreign and domestic companies alike, leaving once majestic mountain a scene of toxic devastation. Prospecting activities have been under way in the Biga peninsula and especially in the northern side of Ida Mountain since the beginning of 1990s. Activities have been expanding in the region since 2007 (with more than 40 licences and around 100 projects at exploration stage now); explicitly two gold mines (Kirazli and Agi Mountain) made progress. The Canadian company, Alamos Gold, in charge of three projects (with three licences, Kirazli, Agi Dagi and Camyurt) has been targeting to start production in Kirazli in 2013 and in 2014. In December 2013, the Canakkale Administrative court gave a suspension of execution decision on the exploration activities. Yet, the company kept pursuing the case with the support of the AKP government and published their feasibility reports in 2017. They received operating permission from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources to start construction activities in 2019. Public opposition mounted again in July 2019 after the firm allegedly cut down almost 195.000 trees (according to calculations by TEMA Foundation), which is four times more than it declared in the EIA.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ida Mountain (Kazdagi) Prospecting for Gold, Turkey
Country:Turkey
State or province:Çanakkale Province
Location of conflict:Kirazlı town
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
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Gold
Silver
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Two projects, Agi Dagi and Kirazli, previously jointly owned by Canadian junior companies Teck Cominco and Fronteer, and acquired by Canadian Alamos Gold in 2010, have advanced to the mine development stage. The mining concessions for the two projects cover 1,540 hectares (3,805 acres) and 12,703 hectares (31,390 acres) respectively. The initial and sustaining capital costs of the two projects are estimated at around US$ 300 million. The area is well served with roads, electricity and transmission lines, which reduces the need for significant investments in infrastructure. In their website, Alamos Gold announces: "Our Kirazli Gold Project in Turkey represents a significant near term source of low cost production growth. With its low capital and operating costs, Kirazli is one of the highest return, undeveloped gold projects in any gold price environment." Positive feasibility studies were completed on Ağı Dağı and Kirazlı in 2017 with both projects contemplated as stand-alone open-pit, heap-leach operations. These studies were a continuation of the pre-feasibility study completed on the projects in 2012. Under the feasibility study, Kirazlı is expected to produce an average of 104,000 oz of gold at mine-site all-in sustaining costs 1 of $373/oz over a 5 year mine life. The project is described as a "low cost, low capital and low technical risk project with robust after tax IRR of 44.3%". According to the feasibility study, Agi Dagi then represents for Alamos Gold the next leg of low-cost production growth in Turkey. Kirazli is expected to be developed first with cash flow from that operation to help fund development of Agi Dagi.

Project area:1997
Level of Investment:168,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:180,000 - 550,000
Start of the conflict:01/10/2007
Company names or state enterprises:Alamos Gold from Canada - Company in charge of Agi Mountain ve Kirazli mining projects
Doğu Biga Madencilik from Turkey - Subsidiary of Alamos Gold
Relevant government actors:Governorship of Canakkale,
Mineral Research and Exploration Institute,
Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Directorate,
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry,
Ministry of Environment and Urbanization,
State Hydraulic Works (DSI)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-TEMA Foundation (www.tema.org.tr)
-Canakkale Environmental Platform (https://www.facebook.com/cevreplatformu.org/ )
-Ida Mountain Preservation Association (http://kazdagi.org.tr/)
-Brotherhood of Ida Mountain ((https://www.facebook.com/kazdaglarikardesligi/)
-Center for Spatial Justice (MAD) (https://beyond.istanbul/english/home)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Women
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
National EJOs
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Creation 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 of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Mine tailing spills, Air pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impacts98.7% of the Cyanide Gold Mine area in Kirazli, Çanakkale is located in the forest area. There are 18 mammals, 41 birds, 10 reptiles and 117 insect species. The forest is home to 283 different plant species. 7 of the species identified in the project area lives only in Turkey.
The mine site, which is 30 km away from the center of Çanakkale, is also located in the same water basin with Atikhisar Dam which is the only water source of 180 thousand people.
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents
Other Health impacts
The planned mine sits on a tectonic plate/earthquake zone; so cyanide use is seen as a serious risk since it can be taken by inhalation due to leakage from the waste dam to the ground, evaporation, groundwater pollution, arsenic formation.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsAdverse impact on agricultural production and tourism. Difficulties in access to water
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:The mine will harm the ecological balance of a wooded region near Mount Ida which is home to diverse flora. So, the resistance just wants to stop the project and keep the region as part of the natural park.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The situation is still unclear. After the initial spark set in the summer of 2007, opposition groups intensified
their struggle through various means. Faced with such active opposition, the companies backed off from the southern part of the region, and reduced the intensity of their activities in the north for
a while. The awareness and resistance of the public at an early stage can be seen as an accomplishment. The projects were not abandoned, however, and when Alamos Gold acquired the two most developed projects in January 2010, the pace of
exploration and development work gained pace once more while the local opposition had faded considerably. In 2018, Canakkale Municipality and national NGOs such as TEMA foundation took the issue on their agenda and made a nation-wide call to stop Alamos Gold. On August 5, more than 10 thousand “life defender"entered the mining project area. Both social media posts and seizures and meetings have had a wide impact and were very effective. The outcome is still unclear but nationwide awareness is raised regarding the negative impacts of gold mining.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Turkish Mining Law numbered 5177

Constitutional Provision numbered 56 (The right of living in a healthy and balanced environment)

Law for olive cultivation and breeding (especially for the southern side of the mountains)

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

Avci, D., Adaman, F., B. Ozkaynak. (2010). Valuation Languages in Environmental Conflicts: How Stakeholders Oppose or Support Gold Mining at Mount Ida, Turkey, 70, Ecological Economics, 228-238.

Avcı, D. (2017) ‘Mining conflicts and transformative politics: A comparison of Intag (Ecuador) and Mount Ida (Turkey) environmental struggles’,

Geoforum 84: 316-325.

EJOLT Mining from an Environmental Justice Perspective Report with the Ida Mountain Mining Conflict as a Factsheet
[click to view]

IS THE SURFACE OF IDA MOUNTAIN MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD MINE? - Yrd. Do. Dr. Rt ILGAR, anakkale Onsekiz Mart niversitesi (in Turkish)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Petition of three MPs to the Parliament, 2012 (in Turkish)
[click to view]

Forbes
[click to view]

Alamos Gold Project Development Description on Kirazli and Agi Dagi
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Signature campaing started by TEMA in change.org to stop the project with around 500.000 signatures as of August 8.

Support message from Greta Turnberg, climate activist for Ida Mountain Protests
[click to view]

Big Protest March on August 5 in Kirazlı, Çanakkale

"Watch for Water and Conscience"
[click to view]

Piano Concert by Fazıl Say on Sunday, August 18
[click to view]

Alamos Gold-CEO John McCluskey
[click to view]

Article in La Vanguardia
[click to view]

Other documents

Massacre of Nature
[click to view]

What is happening in Kirazlı? Tema Campaign
[click to view]

Project Site
[click to view]

Protests
[click to view]

“IS THE SURFACE OF IDA MOUNTAIN MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD MINE, by Dr. Rütü ILGAR
[click to view]

Other comments:This has not only been a low/medium level of local conflict over a long period of time, but the case had nation-wide importance with medium to big size protests against the environmental effects of the projects. The latest being the march of thousands against planned gold mine the region on August 5, with a wide range of impact at national/international level. This seems to be one of the biggest demonstrations in the country after Gezi Park movement in 2013.
Meta information
Contributor:Duygu Avci, Alper Akyuz and Begum Ozkaynak, Cem İskender Aydın on behalf of BOG
Last update09/08/2019
Comments
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