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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.

In 2007, Turgutlu community started organizing as Caldag nickel mine would cause countless damage and disaster on forest resources, under and above ground water resources, clean air, productive agricultural lands, humans and animals health. The local community tried preventing the establishment of the mining company in their region first under the umbrella of Turgutlu Coalition and then Turgutlu Environment Platform-(TURCEP in Turkish acroynm).

Due to the fact that in separating nickel acid leaching method would be used in the open air, it would not only affect Turgutlu but a greater zone in the surrounding districts, provinces. Heavily affected will be the agricultural production. The issue has quickly turned into a regional and then into a national conflict. The struggle in fact started locally by Turgutlu Environment Platform (TURCEP in Turkish acroynm) in 2007, then it gained the support of The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA in Turkish acronym) who has increased the outreach of the struggle and opposition from local level, to national and international one.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Caldag Nickel Mine, Turkey
Country:Turkey
State or province:Manisa
Location of conflict:Turgutlu
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 commodities:Rare metals
Nickel

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.

Since European Nickel company only realised a pilot study in Turgutlu, it is not possible to provide figures on an annual basis. After about a year from its decision to leave Turkey, in 2011, European Nickel sold its rights in Caldag to VTG Nickel company.

Project area:2000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Company names or state enterprises:VTG Nickel Holding from Turkey
European Nickel (ENK) from United Kingdom
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Turgutlu 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)

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Villagers, trade chambers, national NGOs.
Forms of mobilization: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

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-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Other socio-economic impactsPotential difficulties in access to water, potential damage on cultural heritage

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

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

(in Turkish)
www.caldagi.com

Mining Weekly
http://www.miningweekly.com/article/enk-sells-off-caldag-project-for-40m-2011-09-15

Alda nickel mines new owner dismisses claims of harming the environment - Todays Zaman
http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=260147

Feni Mining
http://www.fenimining.com/en/turkiye-ve-dunyada-madencilik/

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Photo Gallery of resistance movement:

Demonstrations of TEMA (In Turkish):
http://goo.gl/qvIKf

Panel with the title Is Akhisar under threat? featured on a local TV program (In Turkish):
http://vimeo.com/57763439

TV Program about the effects of Caldag Nickel Mine on Gediz Plain (In Turkish):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94kJZa5MaR0

TV program on the ecological damage Caldag Nickel Mine creates, the CHP parliamentarian Hasan Oren explains the case (In Turkish):
http://goo.gl/RT1ey

Galeri
http://www.caldagi.com/?Syf=4andpt=Resim

Other comments:The 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

Contributor:Ozgul Erdemli Mutlu
Last update08/04/2014