"New regulations to facilitate licensing and permitting, the development of new projects by Authorized Legal Persons (YTKs), and their involvement in the auditing of those projects, will all contribute to the development of the industry."
Can you introduce our readers to the scope and focus of the Mining Turkey 2018 event?
The 8th Mining Turkey event, to be held on 13-16 December 2018, is the most comprehensive mining industry event in Eurasia. As a fair to showcase mining technologies, teams and equipment, the event provides great opportunities to do networking. Having brought the mining industry under one roof since 2004, Mining Turkey offers a highly convenient sales and marketing platform to facilitate domestic and international cooperation and showcase the country’s mining potential to international companies. The event is a perfect venue for investment matchmaking.
What are some of the main challenges to the mining industry in Turkey at present?
Turkey has always been a crucial country for mining, given its underground wealth, as well as its geopolitical position as a bridge between Europe and Asia. Yet, engaging in mining operations can take a lot of time and effort due to the need to secure permits, obtain and transfer the licenses, find feasible projects and interested investors. Furthermore, the need for qualified engineers and technical staff is ever present and pressing. New regulations to facilitate licensing and permitting, the development of new projects by Authorized Legal Persons (YTKs), and their involvement in the auditing of those projects, will all contribute to the development of the industry. Moreover, certain practices introduced in parallel to global developments will help the Turkish mining industry reach international standards.
Recently the government has been providing an increased level of support to the industry and started work on a new model for financing of mining operations. The past few years saw substantial changes, and by 2017, Turkey exported approximately 25 billion tonnes of mining products, bringing in nearly US$5 billion in contributions to the national economy. Previously the industry’s contribution had been hovering around US$1 billion. From January to September 2017, investment subsidy certificates were issued for a total of 2,061 projects, 922 of which were in energy sector, and 139 more in the mining sector. This represents a 45% increase compared with the same period in 2016 and accounted for TRY23.3 billion in investments. Moreover, 1,914 of these certificates were for new investments. The efforts to facilitate and subsidize investments will only become bolder.
Safety standards are a particularly pressing concern for the Turkish mining industry. What improvements have been made in recent years?
Occupational health and safety constitutes another crucial issue for the mining industry in Turkey. Several new regulations have been introduced, with a view to improving safety. The introduction of adequate monitoring mechanisms to ensure compliance with these safety regulations, and the provision of required training to all parties involved are imperative. A focus on education from the university level on, and the provision of major training programs to technicians and workers will go a long way in achieving success.
What will be some of the main areas of opportunity in the Turkish mining industry in the next two to three years?
The leading opportunities lie in energy raw materials such as uranium, thorium, and last but not least, coal. Significant developments are expected in gold, silver, cobalt, nickel, boron, trona and rare earth minerals as well. We will also see rising levels of mining equipment manufacturing in Turkey.
In 2017, Turkey’s mining industry imports fell by 9.7% compared to 2016, but its mining exports grew by 40% in the last decade. According to representatives of the mining industry, 2018 is a critical juncture in realizing the US$15-billion export target set for the next five years by the government. They also believe that, under suitable conditions in line with the characteristics of our mines, the industry will be able to compete with the whole world.