Despite pandemic, production target is achieved by prioritizing work safety and environmental responsibility
Turkey’s gold production by the end of 2021 is estimated to surpass the record high level made in the history of the Republic of Turkey in 2020, the Vice President of the Turkish Miners Association (TMD) and General Manager of Tuprag Metal Madencilik AŞ, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
Mehmet Yilmaz explained that the production target between 40-45 tons was achieved with the production of 42 tons in 2020 by prioritizing work safety and environmental responsibility in spite of the pandemic, which continues to be a major handicap for the sector.
“This record production figure means $2.4 billion of contribution to the country’s economy,” he said.
According to Yilmaz, the sector that now employs 13,200 people directly and 50,000 indirectly has seen the production of 382 tons of gold since it started in 2000.
“Currently 18 gold mines operate in Turkey, and we are updating the capacities of existing gold mines and the fields that will start production this year. The exact and clear figure has not yet been formed, but we can already project that we will be above the 2020 production figure,” he said.
-Output growth in gold reduces import dependency
Yilmaz said that of the $30-35 billion annual foreign trade deficit in the mining sector, $25 billion stems from gold.
Therefore, he explained that any boost in domestic gold production contributes to reducing the foreign deficit from energy imports as well as reducing Turkey’s import dependency.
“Normally Turkey’s gold imports are between 150-200 tons, but this year around 260 tons were imported, but I do not expect that the import figures will be that much in 2021,” he said.
- Turkey’s gold mining exceeds global standards
Yilmaz commended Turkey’s gold mining industry, which produces gold at a quality that he says exceeds global standards and with sustainability and safety at the heart of its production process using a highly-skilled workforce.
Environmental obligations are fulfilled even after the completion of operations by re-greening the field, he added.
Turkey’s environmental legislation covers issues like the use of cyanide, drilling-blasting, ore processing, the prevention of water and soil pollution and the protection of air quality, he explained.
Yilmaz is keen to dispel misinformation and sensationalism in the media on horror stories relating to gold mines and invites non-governmental organizations and locals to gold mining regions to pay a visit to the facilities that are routinely inspected at least once a month.
“Our goal is to conduct clean business with clean people in a clean environment,” he said.