Operator of disaster-struck Soma mine obtains license for new plant
Some 301 workers lost their lives in Turkey’s worst ever industrial disaster in Soma's Eynez mine on May 13, 2014.The mining company responsible for the operation of the disaster-struck mine in the Aegean coal capital of Soma, where 301 workers lost their lives in Turkey’s worst mining accident last May, has obtained authorization to build a new plant in the northern province of Amasya, daily Cumhuriyet has reported.
Gürman Energy Mining, an affiliate of Soma Mining Company, whose CEO and general manager are under arrest pending trial, had applied to the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) for an assessment of the construction project a few months after the disaster.
Following a positive assessment, the company was given a pre-licence to begin designing the plant. According to the report, it is expected that the company will also acquire the mandatory license for producing energy this year.
The company now has to apply for the approval of the construction plans, with the project likely scheduled for 2017.
“This company should have been banned forever from the sector, considering the magnitude of the disaster,” said main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Manisa lawmaker Özgür Özel, who had repeatedly warned about the situation of the mines in Soma before the accident, during a parliamentary session.
“As Einstein says, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. The company is the same, the sector is the same and the government is the same. What sort of an outcome can we expect in a few years?” Özel added.
The Some Mining Company not only drew anger for failing to implement the necessary safety measures, but also for absolving itself from any responsibility for the accident.
“If the Soma mining company was an airline and 301 people were killed in its last flight, would the head of the EPDK, the energy minister, or the prime minister send their kids to be on the first flight after that accident?” Özel asked.
The company recently laid off more than 2,800 employees for failing to pay the double salaries agreed as compensation after the Soma mining disaster, without the help of the government.