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27 Feb 2024

Türkiye: Alleged negligence led to toxic goldmine landslide which has trapped 9 workers & raised severe environmental concerns

On 13 February 2024, a landslide occurred at a gold mine in the Erzincan province of Türkiye. While some workers managed to escape, nine workers were trapped, with search and rescue efforts complicated by the presence of cyanide and other toxic chemicals at the site. There are concerns that these chemicals could leak from the site, with severe implications for soil and the nearby Euphrates River, which runs from Türkiye to Syria and Iraq.

Workers at the site say they warned of the risk two days before the disaster. It is also alleged that previous warnings were ignored, and that the government redrew its earthquake fault line map in 2023 to play down the risk at the site.

The mine was temporarily closed in 2022, following a cyanide leak, but the mine was allowed to stay open after Anagold Mining, the company that operates the site, paid a fine - prompting outrage among environmental groups.

A public investigation was launched, with several employees of Anagold, and SSR Mining, its parent company, detained.

SSR Mining suspended production at the site.

The incident sparked a plunge of more than 50% in SSR Mining's Toronto-listed shares.

On 26 February 2024, another incident occurred at a chrome mine in Elazığ province - injuring one worker. An investigation was launched by the provincial government.