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The New Mining Law is the harbinger of new accidents, deaths

Basin mining is abandoned and the mining act leads up to the small scale licensed mines. With the new act, government is no longer responsible. The opposition party believes that this new act will put occupational health into the background, occupational accidents will soar because employers will force workers to produce more, will leave workers helpless and the act is employer-driven.

Cengiz Aldemir

The mining sector, where fatal occupational accidents are common, becomes even more dangerous after the new Mining Act. Opposition parties and trade unions are concerned about fatal accidents to increase after this act because workers’ health is put into the background and where small scale licensed mining is led up. The parties draw attention that cultivated areas, environment, nature, wild life and worker health are not taken in consideration and warn of increased accidents and deaths because competing subcontractors those are unaware of each other will force workers to produce more.


Tayfun Görgün

One of those who has worry for is Tayfun Görgün, leader of CPTU(DİSK)/Dev Maden-Sen and Ankara representative, who draws attention to the dangers of the state’s withdrawal from mining operations and the spread of privatizations. Görgün says that Turkey has 29 of 51 items of minerals all over the world.  Görgün states that some of those mineral deposit reserves has the scale advantage but can’t use this advantage and says: “Especially after the withdrawal of state from mining and spread of privatizations, mining in Turkey is operated with inadequate capital investment, not making use of advanced technology and the construction companies are inexperienced in mining area. Subcontracting breaks the total knowledge, program, management obligation and advantages in the same mining basin, transforms the production area into an area that increases work accidents, with a profit-focused mining that is being reached by forcing production.”

Görgün criticizes that act was prepared unilaterally and in a bag bill form without taking opinions of social parties like trade associations, trade unions, universities. He adds that this act leads up the privatization of coal mines and licenses which  belong to TTK and TKİ notably and fragmentation and sale of public assets and public enterprises to private sector. Görgün states that whether the company  has sufficient technology and knowledge won’t be conditioned and says: “Thus without taking into account the wholistic planning, safety and efficiency in the same basin; mine will be extracted from the most profitable regions of the basin while the less profitable reserves will be wasted.”

He draws attention that cultivated areas, environment, nature, wild life and worker health are not taken in consideration about mining production planning and production; and warns of increased accidents and deaths because competing subcontractors those are unaware of each other will force workers to produce more.


Görgün says that mining is assigned to ruling party with this act and asks for withdrawal of law saying that “In this way, political power can use these authorizations arbitrarily and subjectively so neither company and enterprise will have license assurance.”


Another name, who warns that the abandoning of basin mining and making small license areas will cause illegal mining and calamities is Manisa Deputy of PRP (CHP) Ahmet Vehbi Bakırlıoğlu. He states that the Soma mining calamity where 301 miners dead take place in the literature as “the most preventive accident.” Bakırlıoğlu says that the report prepared by Parliamentary Research Commission of Soma Mining Accidents has never been taken into consideration. “The report states that royalty is not appropriate in terms of legislation, and service procurement legislation is far from addressing the problems caused by implementation. In addition, the importance of basin mining is emphasized in order to make the production of the resources available, and to produce efficiently and safely.” he says.


He states that the new law and the report prepared by the Parliamentary Research Commission were the exact opposite, and that small licenses would be created, which would be contrary to the principles of basin mining and says “With this arrangement, public institutions and organizations will be free of their obligations arising from work accidents and our workers will be left to their fate.”

Bakırlıoğlu highlights that the areas tendered by royalty can not be inspected and occupational accidents in those areas will become inevitable. He draws attention that insistence on this system will increase the illegal mining activities. Bakırlıoğlu warned as “It will put worker health and safety into the background and force more production. What we have already anticipated is this act will leave our workers and their families helpless.”

Although it is known that the royalty system is faulty, Bakırlıoğlu criticized the insistence of this faulty system and said that not enough lessons derived from calamities. Bakırlıoğlu adds that there is a implicit relationship between politics, capital and trade union related with Soma calamity and says “The only problem is that the continuity of that relationship? With this act, mining will become an unpredictable sector. The current situation, which is already troubled, will get worse.”


Ayhan Yüksel

Another name who shares his idea with Halagazeteciyiz.net, that this act is against to the “Local and National Mining” policy of Government is Alper Yüksel, the Chairman of the Executive Board of Chamber of Mining Engineers of Turkey-TMMOB (Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects). Yüksel states that the act was prepared unilaterally, without taking opinions of representatives of the sector and wasn’t discussed publicly and says that “ıt has prepared behind closed doors, according to the specific demands of some business circles.” Yüksel wants withdrawal of law, claiming that the act is against to the “national interest” which is stated in the objective clause and to the “local and national mining policy” which the ministry always mentions.


Yüksel, demands the immediate withdrawal of this act because it will end the relation between professional chamber and its members. He summarizes why the act should be withdrawn as follows:

“-It must be withdrawn immediately as it will make mine engineers the scapegoat, who work as  permanent supervisors and will strip them of their job.

  • It must be withdrawn immediately as when loading the tasks and responsibilities of MAPEG to permanent supervisors, it punishes them with no professional authorization and assurance.

  • It must be withdrawn immediately because it will make the diplomas of approximately 50 thousand mining, geology and geophysics engineers, who are completely local and national according to UMREK codes.

  • It must be withdrawn immediately because this act will lead to privatization of mining areas which belongs to TTK and TKİ, and will lead to unemployment, precariousness and deaths.

  • It must be withdrawn immediately because the problems of the sector will increase due to increasing fines and license fees, and this will lead to decline in production.

  • It must be withdrawn immediately because it will lead to arbitrariness in decertifications and tenders, to unlawfulness and unfairness.”

Transloation: Ekin Değirmenci


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