Cyanide Crisis Continuing in Turkey Kutahya Silver Mine

HASAN GOKVARDAR

Mining Engineer

Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment, Health Department of Ministry of Health preferred to keep silence after the cyanide spill in Kütahya Silver Mine. Due to the declarations of NGO’s, especially The Chamber of Turkish Engineers and Architects, about the hazardous effects and the probable risks of the cyanide and heavy metal leakage in to the underground water, the Government stopped to keep silence.  

The mine company authorized members came face to face with the truth and started health investigations on 75 labors of the mine site.  According to the health regulations the ministry has to monitor the heavy metal in the labors blood within every 6 months.  Even the blood sample of the mine site cook contains heavy metals more than the health limits of the ministry.

The authorities of the hospital declare that there are chemicals in the blood samples of the mine site labors.  The investigation is still continuing and the doctors are monitoring the damage of chemicals in labors organs.

NGO’s state that the mine should be closed before the investigations finalization due to the first declarations of the health offices. The arsenic limit in blood is five times more than the regulation limits.

The health authorities also state that there are problems seen in the skin, urinary system and the lungs of the patients.

NGO’s say that the blood analyses should be carried on mine site villages as well. The health check up on mine surrounding villages should be done as quickly as possible. The arsenic even in the blood of cook who is far away from the cyanide leaching shows that the chemical damage is threatening the Kütahya City as well.

The health investigations on 75 labors of the Kütahya Silver Mine are being continuing in the Professional Disease Hospital of the Government in Ankara. A full declaration – report will be available from the hospital authorities soon.

The probable risks of the cyanide usage in recovery of silver & gold metals are seen very well after the dam incident in Kütahya Silver Mine. The mine is still working and the people of the district are in great panic, and do not know what to do. The Turkish Supreme Court had declared that there is no public benefit due to the probable risks of the heavy metals and cyanided complexes seen in the Environmental Impact Reports of the Gold Mines and had also wanted gold mines to be stopped from operations. The spill in Kütahya Silver mine is proving the truth of the court decision. The government authorities should listen to the court decision s and see objectively the probable risks in cyanide leaching after the Kütahya silver Mine incident.

The solution to get rid of the paddocks in Kütahya silver mine seems impossible. One professor from the chemistry engineering faculty of İstanbul Thecnical University states that a new paddock, according to tailings dam construction criteria should be constructed and the contents of the weak paddocks should be pumped into the new paddock.

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