The Canadian mining company Alamos Gold, which sparked massive protests in opposition to its mining operations in Turkey’s Kaz Mountains, has left the area after its one-year license was not renewed, daily Cumhuriyet reported.
The company was compensated by the Turkish government even though Alamos Gold’s mining operations resulted in a clearcut of 195,000 trees in the Kaz Mountains, which lie in the northwestern province of Çanakkale.
Activists and environmentalists protested for a year in opposition to the gold mine, decrying the massive ecological destruction created by the deforestation.
“It will take years for the mine site to recover. Alamos Gold leaves the field with compensation under international arbitration law. The company also makes the state pay for its own expenses, and leaves without even replacing the living soil it scraped. As if the damage caused was not enough, it is unacceptable that they receive compensation,” said Agricultural/Forest Labor Union chairman Şükrü Durmuş.
Durmuş said that the departure of the Canadian company has created the rumors that pro-government companies such as Koza Mining or Cengiz Holding may take over the operations in the area.
Koza Mining was seized by gov’t appointed trustees in 2015 while Cengiz Holding is known for its close relations with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and has received lucrative tenders in the past.
“It is thought-provoking that Alamos left like this. The fact that Koza Mining and Cengiz Construction have the license for the nearby Halitağa copper mining project has increased the rumors that the area Alamos left will be transferred to Cengiz or Koza,” Durmuş said.