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Turkey rescuers battle to avoid wasting staff trapped in landslide-hit gold mine | Information

Turkey rescuers battle to avoid wasting staff trapped in landslide-hit gold mine | Information

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Catastrophe highlights nation’s poor security file, as earlier calls to close down Copler mine went unheeded.

Turkey is below strain to close down a gold mine buried by a large landslide, as lots of of rescuers battle to avoid wasting a minimum of 9 trapped staff.

The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects mentioned on Wednesday that the federal government ought to shut the Copler mine within the jap city of Ilic “instantly”.

The union mentioned its previous warnings a couple of looming catastrophe had gone unheeded. “All these answerable for the catastrophe needs to be held accountable earlier than the judiciary,” it mentioned in an announcement. “All environmental impression experiences needs to be cancelled and the plant needs to be closed instantly.”

Rescuers have been deployed to go looking by means of cyanide-saturated soil to avoid wasting the employees, trapped when 10 million cubic metres of sludge rolled over their open pit on Tuesday.

Inside Minister Ali Yerlikaya mentioned on Wednesday that some 1,700 search and rescue personnel, together with police and army groups, mine rescuers and volunteers, have been deployed to search out the mine staff.

Of the 9 lacking, 5 individuals have been believed to be in a container hut, three in a car and one in a truck, he mentioned on the catastrophe web site.

Relatives of missing miners arrive after a landslide occurred in a gold mine operated by Anagold Mining in İliç district of Erzincan on January 14, 2024
Family members of lacking miners arrive after a landslide hit a gold mine operated by Anagold Mining within the Ilic district of Erzincan province, Turkey, January 14, 2024 [Ugur Yildirim via Getty Images]

An investigation has been launched and the authorities mentioned on Wednesday that 4 individuals, together with the pit’s discipline supervisor, had been arrested.

The mine is run by non-public firm Anagold, which has been extracting gold within the area since 2010. Eighty % of Anagold is owned by SSR Mining, which relies in Denver in the US, and Turkey-based Lidya Madencilik and Calik Holding.

The mine produced 56,768 ounces of gold within the third quarter of final 12 months and is SSR’s second-largest producing gold mine.

Cyanide

Rescuers have been looking out by means of a cyanide-laced discipline within the space, situated in Turkey’s mountainous Erzincan province, to search out the employees.

Environmentalists concern that cyanide and sulphuric acid used within the gold extraction course of might unfold into the Euphrates River, which runs from Turkey to neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

The Ministry of Surroundings, Urbanisation and Local weather Change mentioned in an announcement {that a} stream resulting in the Euphrates was closed to stop water air pollution. Erzincan Governor Hamza Aydogdu mentioned there was no leakage into the waterway.

However the Ilic Nature and Surroundings Platform, an area strain group, mentioned the stream had already combined with the Euphrates.

“Don’t seal off [the stream], seal off the mine,” the group mentioned.

Poor security file

The mine was closed down in 2020 following a cyanide leak brought on by a burst pipe into the river. It reopened two years later after the corporate was fined and a cleanup operation was accomplished.

A Turkish courtroom then fined the corporate 16.5 million Turkish lire ($537,000). However native efforts to close it down failed.

Turkey has a poor mine security file. In 2022, an explosion on the Amasra coal mine on the Black Beach killed 41 staff. The nation’s worst mining catastrophe came about in 2014 at a coal mine in Soma, western Turkey, the place 301 individuals have been killed.

Within the wake of these incidents, engineers warned that security dangers have been incessantly ignored and inspections not adequately carried out.

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