Canadian-Turkish joint venture Anagold and Çalık Holding’s mine companies causing a cyanide poisoning in Turkey’s eastern Erzincan province was not the first time the mining companies polluted the River Euphrates, which provides water for much of the region as well as parts of Iraq, ecology union member Füsun Kayra told Mezopotamya News Agency.
A much larger leak started some six weeks ago but the company was able to bury the news at the time, Kayra added.
There are video records of 20 tons of cyanide water mixed in with the İliç Dam built on the Euphrates River after an explosion, she said. “Therefore, the company, Erzincan Governorship and Turkish Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change had to admit to that explosion.”
The ministry only fined the companies, but this eco-destruction in the Euphrates is irreversible, she said.
The use of cyanide in the mines should stop immediately, she added.
The companies also increased their capacity twice thanks to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)* report results in 2019 and 2021 by expanding the mine fields to approximately 1,746 hectares.
With the expected capacity increase, the mining area will cover the Divriği, Malatya and Munzur Mountains, which are in the Upper Euphrates basin, Kayra said.
The mining companies determine all the political decisions in İliç, she said.
Çalık Holding is also known for its closeness to the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The former economy minister and Erdoğan’s son-in-law previously served as a CEO at this company.
Three months ago, hundreds of ecologists and environmentalists from different cities of Turkey had come to İliç to oppose these results of the EIA reports, and had brought attention to the gravity and danger of the situation. However, no action was taken by the authorities.
Wednesday, the Green Left Party filed a criminal complaint against the mining company.
*EIA is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed project.