Thousands flock to Turkey’s north-western Kaz Mountains to protest construction of gold mine

Thousands protested on Monday against the construction of a gold mine in the Kaz Mountains in northwest Turkey to be run by Canada-based intermediate gold producer Alamos Gold, opposition newspaper Sözcü reported.

The protest, organised by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), called for an end to the gold mine project, citing environmental concerns in the lush mountainous area.

The protesters, including CHP members of parliament, representatives of civil society organisations, columnists and celebrities marched to the mine construction site, despite efforts by gendarmerie forces to stop the group, it said. Protesters have also camped out in front of the site since July 26, saying it threatened the waters, trees and mountains of the region.

A reported 20,000 tonnes of cyanide, a toxic substance that can be deadly in case of spills or leaks, will be used in the mine. More 195,000 trees have already been felled for the project, quadrupling the initial estimation in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (ÇED).

Environmentalists maintain the gold mine would damage one of the most biodiverse places in Turkey while the city runs the risk of losing the one of its water supplies in case of an accident.