MAC: Mines and Communities

Council cancels Cabinet decree for cyanide in gold mining

Published by MAC on 2006-04-20

Council cancels Cabinet decree for cyanide in gold mining

The New Anatolian, Ankara

20th April 2006

The Council of State yesterday annulled a Cabinet decree allowing cyanide to be used to extract gold in the southwestern village of Bergama, Izmir.

The council previously cancelled a positive Environmental Impact Statement (CED) report after it was submitted by the Environment and Forestry Ministry in 1998 and also yesterday cancelled the Cabinet decree which also didn't recognize the cancellation of the report.

In case petition, filed by Izmir Bar against the Cabinet decree, the bar argued the decree is defective as it opposes the implementation of court verdicts and the binding effect of the court, heavily damages the principle of separation of powers, and that it is overtly illegal in terms of authority and reason.

The council's ruling yesterday stated that both legislative and law enforcement bodies have to abide by legal decisions.

If the Prime Ministry's Office, the defendant in the trial, appeals the verdict, the case file will go to the Council of State's Administrative Trial Department.

For many years, the villages of Bergama as well as environmental circles have been fighting for the legal closure of the gold mine in Ovacik on the grounds that it's damaging lands.

Some 315 people, from Bergama and nearby villagers, filed a lawsuit against the Turkish government at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after an operation permit to the gold mine.

Last month's ECHR ruling in the villagers' favor ordered the government to pay 945,000 euros in total.

The ministry also presented another positive CED report, dated Aug. 27, 2004, on the gold-mining facility in question as there had allegedly been technological developments made.

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