Mining to Turkey

The market

Turkey is one of the world's most promising and dynamic mining destinations, with more than 40% cent of its prospective mining areas still unexplored.

The country is the largest gold producer in Europe with 27 tons of gold production per annum from 15 mines.[1] Located on the Tethyan Metallogenic Belt, Turkey also hosts a wide range of deposits, which include mineral ores, coal, silver, marble and natural stones.

The government’s priority is to encourage private investment and develop mining into one of the country’s leading industries. Currently, more than 20 overseas minerals companies are active in Turkey, including large and mid-tier companies from Canada, the UK, US and Australia. These companies are engaged in the full spectrum of mining activities, from exploration to smelting.

Turkey’s large and diverse mineral-resource base includes:

  • copper
  • chrome
  • nickel
  • iron
  • lead
  • mercury
  • tin
  • zinc
  • magnesium

In the current climate, Austrade expects new mining projects to emerge. In addition, new tenders have revived stagnant mining explorations and operations-license contracts. The mining community has shown significant interest in the tenders — and the amounts offered to obtain licences are seen as an indicator of investor interest.

Currently, two government-sponsored programs look likely to trigger fresh investment:

  • Under the National Mining Policy, Turkey’s Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA) is engaged in an impressive drilling program. The program achieved one million metres of drilling in 2017, which increased to 1.5 million meters in 2018.[2] Results will be published, and new sources will be opened to investors.
  • Under the Airborne Geophysical Survey Project, magnetic and radiometric data is being collected to explore areas difficult to reach. The project aims to deliver geophysical maps to support exploration.

Since a new national mining policy was introduced in 2017 mining production has increased. Gold production increased 20% from 2017 to 2018.

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
24.6 29.5 33.5 31.0 27.5 24.5 22.5 27.1


Gold Production of Turkey (Metric Tons) [3]

In pursuit of lower energy imports, the government recently transferred 203 million tons of coal reserves to private companies. It has also continued large investments in the sector. [4] Despite another volatile year for chrome prices, Turkey remains a vital player in the global ferrochrome supply chain.

Opportunities

Previous Austrade missions have identified significant opportunities in upgrading existing facilities and consulting. This applies particularly to the fields of mine safety, mine planning, project management, coal-bed methane drilling and extraction services.

Opportunities also exist in the acquisition of specialised equipment used in both underground and open-cut mine operations.

Currently, there are four areas of likely interest to Australian mining companies:

  • Safety and sustainability - There is increasing industry emphasis on the importance of sustainability in work practices, safety and the environment.
  • Environmental engineering - There is a growing demand for environmental engineering and consulting services, which may translate into opportunities to developing existing facilities.
  • Technology investments - As cost-pressures intensify, there is growing recognition that the Turkish mining industry needs to invest in new technology — both to lift productivity and compete internationally.
  • Consulting services - Turkish companies that are willing to invest abroad may require consulting services to learn more about the markets they wish to target.

In terms of individual mining sectors, opportunities in Turkey include:

  • The exploration and development of base metals
  • Coal production
  • The development of value-added chromium
  • Magnesite and boron end-products
  • Technology upgrades for copper mining
  • Bauxite and zinc-lead smelters
  • Washing and briquette production
  • Clean burning technologies.

Austrade also observes demand for services in the following areas: process development, process-control, chemical and metallurgical analyses, reserve estimation and underground mining operation.

In summary, the mining sector offers not only investment opportunities, but a significant export market for Australian mining, technology, equipment and services.

Competitive environment

Many foreign companies have taken advantage of an investor-friendly business environment in Turkey’s mining sector. Currently, Canadian companies top the list of foreign investors, and they are highly active in precious metals projects. Companies from other countries are also active either as suppliers of products and services, or as direct investors in exploration and mine operations.

Leading mining/smelting companies active in Turkey include:

  • Eldorado Gold, Canada (Kışladağ & Efemçukuru Gold Mines)
  • Alacer Gold, Canada-Australian-Turkey (Çöpler Gold Mine)
  • First Quantum, Canada (Çayeli Copper Mine)
  • Ariana Resources, UK (Kiziltepe Gold & Silver Mines)
  • Pasinex, Canada (Pınargözü Zinc Mine)
  • Centerra Gold, Canada (Oksut Gold Mine-Under Construction)
  • Alamos Gold, Canada (Kirazlı, Agi Dagi, Camyurt development projects)
  • Stratex International Plc, UK (has exploration & development projects)
  • Teck Cominco Ltd, Canada (has exploration & development projects)

Regulations and licenses

Under Turkey’s mining regulations, ‘underground resources’ are subject to the exclusive ownership of the state, and are not considered a part of the land where the resources is located. Under mining legislation, the state delegates its right for exploration and operations to individuals or companies for specific periods by issuing licences that are subject to royalty payments.

The only entities entitled to mining rights are Turkish citizens and companies established under Turkish law specifically for mining purposes.

The General Directorate of Mining Affairs (MIGEM) — a division of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (see below) — is authorised to regulate mining activities and issues mining licences. In addition:

  • Environmental regulations related to mining activities fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry
  • Special audit requirements apply to foreign mining companies that are listed on international stock exchanges

Since 2012, the Turkish Government has taken a greater interest in the control of mining and energy licences and has tightened requirements for the issuance of permits and licences.[5]

Greater government regulation, the global mining downturn and the centralisation of Government decision-making has made licences more challenging to secure. This means fewer international companies are choosing to open new mines in Turkey. Turkish companies are expanding existing projects and are looking regionally for opportunities, particularly in Africa.

Government ministries and agencies

The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources aims to adopt the highest international industry standards. It has commenced a restructuring process supported by regulatory reforms and is currently setting up a Mine Safety Board taking Australia as a model for the framework.

The General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA) is the main government entity responsible for mineral exploration. Under a new policy it conducts many geological studies. The function of MAPEG, a regulatory body, is to ensure that digital technologies expedite authorisation procedures.

The Turkey Geoscience Data and Core Data Bank (TUVEK) was established to archive, publish and put into action geoscience data (drill cores, chip samples and hand specimens) generated by the public and private sector.

The National Resources and Reserves Reporting Committee (UMREK) designates the minimum standards and best practice principles for public reporting of mineral exploration results, mineral resources and mineral reserves. This helps keep investors, financial institutions and the stock market informed.[6] UMREK is a member of the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO).

Market entry

The market requires long-term commitment and cooperation with local partners as well as a network of public and private sector contacts. It is important to make visits and participate in local trade fairs.

To start activities, Australian companies are strongly advised to engage a local representative or liaison officer. As business develops, overseas mining companies often open up subsidiaries.

Some of the relevant contacts include:

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.

Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.

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