Mining regulations changing in Turkey after deadly accidents

Mining regulations changing in Turkey after deadly accidents

ANKARA - Reuters
Mining regulations changing in Turkey after deadly accidents

AA Photo

A new draft mining law has been passed by Turkey’s Parliamentary Commission on Industry, Trade, Energy, Natural Resources and Information Technology, in response to a series of deadly accidents that hit headlines last year.

The new regulations will result in changes to the transfer of mining licenses, establishing a permanent supervision system and prompting the greater consideration of environmental concerns, said Energy Minister Taner Yıldız. 

The draft law will be finalized after negotiations in parliament’s general assembly, Yıldız said on Jan. 23 in a press meeting in Ankara to announce the details of the draft law. 

After deadly accidents in the mines of Soma and Ermenek last year, many have called for an increase in safety conditions in mines across Turkey, he added. 

Yıldız said the changes to the existing Mining Law had submitted to the Prime Ministry before the Soma accident, but more ambitious measures have become a must and more checks have been conducted since the accidents. 

According to the new legal proposal, a permanent supervision system will come online to increase safety standards in mines, he vowed. 

“The existing technical monitors will be replaced by permanent monitors in all mines. We have seen that many technical monitors visit mines in very short spaces of time, not inspecting safety conditions properly. We will replace them with permanent monitors, who will be chosen from among mining engineers,” Yıldız said. 

Some 301 miners died at a mine in Soma last May in the worst ever industrial accident in Turkish history. Only six months after the disaster, 18 miners died at a facility in the Central Anatolian district of Ermenek after an underground flood, drawing the country’s focus back to the perilous safety conditions of mine workers. 

Under the proposed law, mining license owners will be prohibited from making royalty contracts with third parties in their mining fields, with the exception of governmental departments, Yıldız also said.