2019 Ores and building materials extraction

Bergama Gold Mine

Eurogold Gold Mining Company was founded in 1989 by French and Canadian multinational mining companies (Gokvardar 1998:137), following the requirements of the Mining Law of 1985 in Turkey. A prospecting permit in an area close to three villages of Bergama was obtained, aiming to establish the first modern gold mine in the country.

In later years the companys shares were sold to an Australian company (Orhon, 1999) and following this, in 2005, it was handed over to a domestic company named Koza Gold. The mining company takes cyanide leaching method as basic practise for its activities and dump the cyanide in an open waste pool. Since the location is an earthquake-prone zone and the negative effects of cyanide on nature, local peoples health as well as on agriculture (the regions main economic source) would turn out to be disastrous.

Bringing relatively prosperous peasants together with a small group of ambitious policy entrepreneurs, an activist movement, later known as Bergama Resistance, marked a turning point in environmental politics in Turkey. Motivated primarily by the environmental and public health risks posed by cyanide leaching, the peasant activists waged an unprecedented campaign that acted as a forceful reminder of the potential of social mobilization, carefully co-ordinated acts of civil disobedience, and the power of legal action to impart lasting change both at the local and national level. While the peasant activists failed at the end to stop the operation of the mine, their campaign made it possible to start a national discussion over the environmental costs of rapid economic growth in Turkey.

It is worth mentioning that the companys name Eurogold was a highly symbolic choice given Turkeys long standing and frustrated ambition to join the European Union.

Source: Ejatlas