Social License to Operate: Exploration Turkey
In early 2007, Teck Arama ve Madencilik San. Tic. A.S (TCAM) Exploration Group commenced drilling of three potential ore bodies in Western Turkey, specifically Halilaga, Agi Dagi, and Kirazli. The latter two gold projects were known resources, while the former was potentially a new copper-gold discovery.
A multi-disciplinary Community Relations team made presentations and facilitated discussions regarding the early exploration program with area residents in key communities, all levels of government, civil society and media groups. However, in the fall, Turkish citizens rolled-out a national anti-mining media campaign which included NGO-organized rallies focused on three main issues: the increasing presence of foreign mining companies in Turkey, use of cyanide in gold mining, and development-related environmental degradation.
Led by the Community Relations team, TCAM’s Exploration Group responded to these actions by increasing the intensity of outreach activities with stakeholder groups. Regular meetings and presentations were held with a cross-section of community members, academic institutions, media groups, NGOs, and government agencies to communicate Teck’s vast mining experience, as well as awards received for environmental stewardship and reclamation activities. To clarify misconceptions and ensure that all stakeholders had the same knowledge base, TCAM held numerous open houses in the core shack and toured interested stakeholders around active drill sites. Geologists also made presentations to school groups, highlighting the importance of metals and minerals in everyday products. To address cyanide concerns, the TCAM Country Manager worked closely with the Gold Miners Association of Turkey to create booklets detailing the country’s mining regulations, which were distributed by Community Relations staff throughout Western Anatolia and all of Turkey.
Looking ahead to 2008, the TCAM Community Relations team will closely monitor the effectiveness of these efforts while continuing to engage with stakeholder groups and government. As well as providing information and seeking local input for project planning, sustainable initiatives developed in consultation with the local community will include installing a water well. We are also investigating the potential of partnering with women and underemployed people in microfinance initiatives.