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Sostenibilità sociale e ambientale

Turkey: Mount Ida to be mined for gold

Despite the location's value in classical mythology, and today's thriving agricultural industry, the natural paradise risks destruction as it is sitting on a gold mine...

di Asli Kayabal

An extensive minerals research campaign threatens to destroy the natural beauty and ecological equilibrium that surrounds Mount Kazdagi (also called Ida) in Turkey, an authentic natural paradise situated in the north of the Aegean Sea near Canakkale. Several surveys carried out by international companies indicate that there may be about 300 tonnes of gold ore in the region, as well as many other precious and rare minerals. The government in Ankara has decided to agree to mineral ore extraction but their decision has been met with widespread resistance, embodied in the creation of a non profit association called Initiative to protect Mount Kazdagi. Through the organisation?s website the association has organised meetings in Kucukkuyu to raise public awareness, both locally and nationally, on the dangers of destroying the ancient environment.

According to Tahir Onger, the representative for the Chamber of geologists and engineers, in the next few years fifteen different local areas will see the development of as many different companies specialised in ore and minerals extractions. The excavations will be carried out at great depths and would damage the bedrock as well as the vegetation cover, which includes olive groves and secular forests.

Initiative to protect Mount Kazdagi spokespeople have said that not only will it no longer be possible to continue producing olive oil that the region is known for, but also all other agricultural practices that are renown for their high quality will be jeopardized. The coexistence of high quality agriculture and mineral extraction does not, in fact, seem possible.

It would certainly be better if Mount Kazdagi remained one of the most appreciated national parks in Turkey. Schoolchildren who are brought to visit the area are reminded that, according to Greek mythology, the Gods followed the battle of Troy from the heights of Mound Ida. Or that, according to the legend, King Priam and his wife Ecuba abandoned their son Paris on the mountain.

It is hard to say who will win this battle. The power of the economic reasoning threatens to overpower even the strength of classical mythology. Lets hope not. We would all become a little poorer.

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