Fertiliser manufacturer Gübretaş has discovered a 3.5 million ounce deposit of gold in a mining site in the northwestern Bilecik province, state-run Anadolu agency reported on Tuesday.
Gübretaş Chairman Fahrettin Poyraz, who also heads Turkey’s Agricultural Credit Cooperatives (TTKK), told Anadolu that the deposit that was recently discovered would be worth $6 billion at current rates.
“We consider this to be a national matter,” Poyraz said. “We know our President’s sensibility for a national economy. We as Gübretaş and TTKK will do whatever falls on our shoulders.”
Poyraz said the mining site in Bilecik’s Söğüt town had been assigned to Koza Gold for operation in 2008, but Gübretaş had later moved to annul the contract when the company failed to uphold its responsibilities. Courts returned all rights pertaining to the land to the fertiliser company in late 2019.
Koza Gold had been taken over by Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt for alleged connections to religious sect leader Fethullah Gülen, who Turkey holds responsible for organising the coup attempt. The company was among some 1,000 others seized under similar circumstances.
There had been previous explorations for gold in the area, and Gübretaş purchased previous studies from Koza, Poyraz said.
Out of the 3.5 million ounces of gold, 1.92 million ounces are confirmed reserves ready to be extracted, according to the chairman. It is possible for the gold mine to be the densest in Turkey, and among the top five in the world, Poyraz said.
Gübretaş plans to extract the first batch of gold within two years.
Turkey had been considering transferring Koza Gold from TMSF to the Wealth Fund, in what critics called a move to shield state-controlled companies from public oversight.