Planned capacity increase of Istanbul mine poses threat to nature
Fatma Aksu – ISTANBUL
The capacity of a quartzite mine in Istanbul’s Çatalca district has been tripled to 1.5 million tons per year as its license now covers an area of 185 hectares, an increase from 41.25 hectares, posing a great threat to the Çilingoz Nature Park.
The planned expansion, approved by a permission granted by the Energy Ministry, is expected to increase the amount of mining wastes to 2.4 million tons per year. Blasting operations will damage the balance of nature in the forest, leading to a topsoil erosion of 229,000 square meters with a depth of 15 centimeters.
A total of eight streams - Düzdere, Taşdelen, Mandıralı, Karasu, Hamit, Kumtarla, Kırmalar, and Küçükkırmalar - pass through the mining area.
The residential area that is most likely to be affected by the project is the village of Yalıköy, 2.2 kilometers from the mine area, while the closest cultivated area is located 6.5 kilometers from the mine, in the Karacaköy village.
The planned decrease in the forest volume as a result of the project will damage the ecosystem and affect biodiversity, according to a research prepared by Pınar Çam, a research assistant specializing on wildlife from Sinop University in the Black Sea region.
Reptile species such as the testudo hermanni, European pond terrapin, and ophisops elegans living in the project area and nearby face threat due to the project, the report said. A total of 82 bird species are also located in the project area, which similarly also face danger in the face of the project. Among these, greater spotted eagles and lesser kestrels are already on the verge of extinction, the report added.
Also, endangered sea otters inhabit the area, with one having been seen most recently in 2002, the report said. Sea otters have been indicated as the most important species that should be protected in the area.