MAC: Mines and Communities

Turkish Gold Mine to Resume Production - Owner

Published by MAC on 2005-04-28

Turkish Gold Mine to Resume Production - Owner

Planet Ark

April 28, 2005

ISTANBUL - A Turkish court has overturned a ruling that suspended work at a controversial gold mine sold by US-based Newmont last month, paving the way for it to resume operations, the mine's new owner said.

Production has been off and on at the Ovacik gold mine near Bergama in western Turkey for more than a decade amid environmental protests and legal challenges from local people over the use of a cyanide-leaching method for extracting gold. Turkish printing group Koza Davetiye's construction unit ATP Insaat bought Ovacik from the world's largest gold producer Newmont Mining Corp for $44.5 million on March 1.

"Mining activities were halted while the court investigated the matter. A (higher) court has overturned that decision," Koza's chairman Akin Ipek said in a written statement last week.

"Therefore no legal obstacles prevent the mine from resuming production remain," Ipek said.

He said he expected to receive permission soon to reopen Ovacik, whose latest stop-work order came in August 2004 following a renewed legal challenge.

Ipek said daily testing at the mine over the past three years had shown it presents no risks to the environment or the health of residents.

Ovacik was established in 1989 as Eurogold. It became Normandy Mining in 2001 and briefly extracted gold before a court order stopped it.

Australia's Normandy merged with Newmont in 2002.

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