Turkish gold extraction exceeds 24 tons in 2011
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
An employee at a gold firm in Istanbul works on jewelry. A total of 24.425 tons of gold extracted by six mining companies is worth nearly $1.365 billion with current prices. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELThe total amount of gold extracted from the ground in Turkey increased 43 percent to 24.4 tons in 2011 compared to the previous year.
There has been a steady increase in the amount of gold extracted since 2001, when it was at only 1.4 tons. The annual figure saw 11 tons in 2008, 14.5 tons in 2009 and 17 tons in 2010. The total amount of gold extracted from the ground since 2001 has hit 106.5 tons.
A total of six firms are active in gold mining in Turkey, where gold extraction started in 2001, according to the Anatolia news agency.
Uşak, a western Anatolian province in the Aegean region, has become the local “gold rush” center. A total of 8.8 tons were extracted in Uşak Kışladağ Gold Mine last year out of a total 24.425 tons overall.
A total of 5.8 tons of gold ore came from Çöpler Gold Mine in Erzincan, an eastern province, while Mastra Gold Mine in Gümüşhane, a province in northern Turkey, put out 5.1 tons. Another 3.9 tons of gold ore was mined in Bergama Ovacık Gold Mine in the western province of İzmir.
Last year’s total gold pile of 24.425 tons is worth nearly $1.365 billion with current prices.
Imports at 150 tons
Turkey’s annual gold demand shows a change between 150 and 250 tons, while the annual average of gold imports stands at 151 tons, said Ümit Akdur, the chairman of Gold Miners Association, adding that 2,573 tons of gold were imported in the last 17 years.
Turkey has paid a sum of $8 billion per year for gold imports with current prices, said Akdur, noting that this was a substantial figure. Akdur claimed some circles that do not want this trade to dry up have been continuing with their attempts to hamper gold extraction in Turkey.
Noting that Turkey tops the countries which have a significant gold mine potential in the world, he said, “Only 10 percent of Turkey’s 6,500 tons of gold mine potential has been brought out yet. The remaining 90 percent is waiting to be discovered. In order to do that $10 billion to $12 billion must be spent.”
Gold demand in Turkey is steadily on the rise and the increase in gold prices is steering Turkish banks toward gold-backed accounts, he said.
“Gold mutual funds have seen an increase in Turkey as well as gold accounts at the banks. There are 140 tons of gold in the gold-backed accounts of the banks. Turkey is the third country in the highest amount of gold purchases per capita after India and Saudi Arabia.”
Turkey has surpassed all European countries in gold extraction from the ground and has also become No. 1 in the region in successive mine sinks, he said, adding that the gold miners were open to the opinions of “real” experts on environment and the mines were open to visits for everyone.
“I believe that we will eventually elevate Turkey to a gold exporter level rather than an importer of $8 billion of gold,” he said.