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Efemçukuru Gold Mine, Turkey


Efemçukuru Gold Mine, an underground gold mine and related plants and facilities, is located in Aegean Region of Turkey, 20 km to İzmir city and 14 km to Menderes province. The mine is located inside the strict preservation zone of the rivers and streams that supply water to Tahtalı Dam and Çamlı Dam.  The deposit was first discovered on early 1990s, afterwards a licence was obtained and initial exploration activities were conducted. After the initial license and a positive EIA report allowing the mining of 2,5 Million tonnes of gold, the mine started to operate in 2011, despite the protests from both the local Elele Movement and NGOs from İzmir.    In 2012, not long after the start of operation, the company filed for a new EIA for increasing the capacity of the mine from 2,5 to 8,5 Million tonnes and received a positive report. EGEÇEP (Aegea Environment and Cultural Platfrom), İzmir branch of TMMOB (Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects) and TTB (Turkish Medical Association) filed a court case for the cancellation of the positive EIA report for capacity increase. In september 2015, the court decided on the cancellation of the report. However, the mine started to working long ago, and is still operating.   Efemçukuru Gold Mine creates life-threatening risk for İzmir, the third most populated city in Turkey.

In parallel to the court case for the cancellation of the EIA report, another case is filed against the urgent expropriation (with a legally determined monetary compensation) decision regarding the vineyards of certain villagers, for mining purposes. In December 2016, the local court decided against the expropriation decision however the company took the case to higher court and the decision is still pending. 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Efemçukuru Gold Mine, Turkey
State or province:İzmir
(municipality or city/town)İzmir
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Gold
Chemical products

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Reserve development studies estimate that 8.5 million tonnes of ore will be extracted at Efemçukuru, with average annual production of up to 600,000 tonnes. The ore is being processed through a milling and flotation concentrate circuit on site. The flotation concentrate is then transported to our Kisladag mine in Uşak, Turkey.

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1993
Company names or state enterprises:Tuprag from Turkey
Eldorado Gold (EG) from Canada
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:EGECEP - Aegea environment and culture platform

İzmir Chamber of Environmental Engineers

TMMOB -Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects

Bar of İzmir

TTB - Turkish Medical Association

ELELE Movement

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsPoisoning
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsIncome Loss


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
New legislation
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:The mine should stop operating immediately
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Although there are some court cases in favour of the environmental justice, the mine is in operation since 2011. The mobilisations could not stop the mine yet.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Mining law

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

Eldorado Announces Start-up of the Efemcukuru Gold Mine in Turkey

Ozen H., and Ozen Ş. (2014) Environmental Movements Against the Coalition of the State and Capital: Anti-Gold Mining Struggles in Turkey

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Efemcukuru Mine is posing danger to environment and people's health. (Efemçukuru madeni çevreye ve halka zararlıdır) - In Turkish

The Gold Mine in Efemcukuru will poison İzmir (Efemçukuru'ndaki Altın Çalışması İzmir'i Zehirleyecek) - News in Turkish

Other documents

Efemcukuru Gold Mine Protests

Efemcukuru Gold Mine Mining site

Environmental Movements Against the Coalition of the State and Capital: Anti-Gold Mining Struggles in Turkey Article by Hayriye Ozen and Sukru Ozen on anti-mining protests in Turkey.

Meta information

Contributor:Bogazici University on behalf of Veli Güner
Last update02/01/2017



Efemcukuru Gold Mine


Efemcukuru Gold Mine

Mining site