Turkey calls for the closure of the gold mine where

Turkey: calls for the closure of the gold mine where nine miners are trapped

NGOs and professional associations called on Wednesday for the closure of the Turkish gold mine, where nine miners are still trapped after a pile of earth possibly contaminated with cyanide slipped on Tuesday.

These calls were made as hope of finding these minors alive is dwindling.

“It is not only our nature and our resources that are being massacred, but also our lives,” the Iliç gold mine in Erzincan in the northeast of the country “must be closed immediately,” the Union of Architects and Engineers of Turkey said in a press release on Wednesday.

“Millions of tons of toxic waste flow into the Euphrates. It is not enough to close the river floodgates. Close the mine,” the Iliç Environment and Nature Platform also responded.

For its part, the Turkish Chamber of Mining Engineers denounced “a chain of negligence” that had caused “a major environmental disaster.”

A mound consisting of a pile of dirt removed from the mine rolled like a lava flow into a valley in the area on Tuesday, covering a large area and leaving nine miners trapped.

Experts say the country may contain cyanide, used to extract gold, posing a pollution risk to the region and the Euphrates, the major river that flows through Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

The Environment Ministry announced on Tuesday that it was taking measures to “prevent substances from entering the Euphrates.”

Efforts to rescue the nine miners trapped under the landslide continued on Wednesday.

The mine, which employs 667 miners, made headlines back in 2022 after a cyanide leak prompted authorities to briefly halt operations.

It reopened after paying a fine, causing an outcry from the opposition.

“Despite the cyanide leak, the mine's permit was not revoked and its capacity was increased. The company enjoyed legal protection (…). “All of this has paved the way to catastrophe,” criticized the Turkish medical association on Tuesday.