OUR HISTORY OF STRUGGLE

 

  • In 1985, MTA (Mineral Research and Exploration) started the field exploration works at the site. As a result of these works, four borings, whose total length was close to 1 km, were suggested. In 1986, these explorations were carried out. However in the conclusion of the relevant report it was stated that an economically significant source could not be found. Surprisingly enough, the mines which could not be found by MTA was found by the ones, who had the exploration licenses.
  • In 1988 and 1989, the ministry of Energy and Natural Resources issued mineral exploration and preliminary operation licenses to the Canadian company, Cominco, for the site.
  • In 1992, Hatila National Park works were conducted. The National Park was narrowed down from both sides and the Cerattepe field was left outside the boundaries of the National Park. On 31st August 1994, Hatila National Park was announced.
  • After the exploration works in 1994, the first adverse effects were observed and it was suggested that some of the cows died due to the water being contaminated by chemicals. It was also claimed that the samples, which were taken from these dead cows and sent for analysis in order to investigate this matter, were lost. After these developments, the Artvin people began to investigate the exploration works.
  • 1995 – Artvin Municipality, Artvinliler Hizmet Vakfı and the mining company Cominco organized a panel on Gold Mining in Artvin and its Environmental Consequences. The panel sparked off the reaction of the Artvin people.
  • 07.1995 – The people of Artvin established the Green Artvin Association in order to be better informed about the exploration works and participate in the process. In September of the same year, the Association invited many academics from various universities and departments and asked them to carry out an investigation in the area of Cerattepe. Following the investigations, Gold Mining and its Environmental Consequences Panel was held on the 16th September. This panel proved that the Artvin people were right to be concerned about the matter.
  • In 1996, the Governorship of Artvin Local Environment Board published its unfavorable views on the Official Gazette (issue number 22553, dated 13.02.1996).
  • 1997 – The first public demonstration concerning the environmental consequences of gold mining was held in Artvin.
  • In the petition conducted in 1997, 10.000 signatures were collected. In February 1998, with the participation of all the political parties and the representatives of NGOs for the first time these signatures were delivered to the Ministry of Environment in Ankara. The project was suspended for a re-examination.
  • In 1998, General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration drew attention to the landslide risks with its research titled “City of Artvin Environmental Geology and Natural Resources”.
  • In 2002, a new petition was carried out against the exploration. The collected almost 10.000 signatures and once again with the participation of all the political parties and the representatives of NGOs, these signatures were delivered in person to the Ministry of Environment in Ankara. In the same year, the Cominco company withdrew from the project and handed over its license to another Canadian company titled INMET Mining.
  • 06.2005 – Green Artvin Association and Artvin Bar Association filed a lawsuit against the project for the first time. On the date of 11.07.2005, Erzurum Administrative Tribunal granted a motion for stay of execution.
  • 2006 –“Faculty Opinion About the Impacts of Mining Planned to be Carried out in the Artvin-Cerattepe Forest”, which was prepared by the Artvin Faculty of Forestry was unanimously approved by the Academic General Assembly and published. (For the report click on the link:http://yesilartvindernegi.org/kafkas-universitesi-artvin-orman-fakultesi-cerattepe-raporu-2006/)
  • 2008 – TBMM (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) Environmental Problems Research Center came to Cerattepe for investigation. After the investigation the Research Commission published a report stating that mining should not be carried out in this area.
  • 10.2008 – Rize Administrative Tribunal revoked the mining license.
  • Towards the end of 2008, İnmet Mining stated, “occasionally we believed that we could be successful but we have understood that we could not succeed without the support of the people and the politicians” in its press bulletin announced that they withdrew from the project.
  • In the beginning of 2009, the Relevant Department of the Council of State approved the nullity of the license on the grounds that “the areas with the mining license are within the national park and touristic areas, the mining operation would not provide any substantial benefit to the country’s economy, the unique natural beauties and the creatures would be harmed, Artvin is essentially on an area where the risk of landslide is high, there are active landslide areas, many scientific reports can be found asserting this risk, the mining activities in the area would also have adverse effects on the flora and fauna, the activity is within the scope of EIA directive as of the date the license was granted, the licensing was carried out in an illegal way, the EIA favorable report was not asked and therefore the operating license and all the licenses should be annulled”. With the request of revision of decision of the relevant company declined, the decision was finalized.
  • March 2011 – The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources announced that within the scope of the New Mining Law, they were going to contract out 1343 mining sites in Turkey including Artvin Cerattepe and Genya.
  • 2 April 2011 – The Black Sea stage of the Great Anatolian Walk started from Artvin under the leadership of Green Artvin Association.
  • February 2012 – A meeting was held in Ankara between the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, all the political parties, which had groups in the assembly, and the NGOs in Artvin, provincial heads of the political parties, Mayor and the Artvin parliament. The Minister of Energy stated that the project would be re-examined and “it will be checked whether the above ground or underground is more valuable”. However, it was contracted out without any re-examinations. It was realized that due to a special clause in the tender specifications there was only one company in Turkey, which would meet the requirements.
  • 02.2012 – In the tender, the Cerattepe and Genya mining site license was given to Özaltın İnş. Tic.ve San. A.Ş. On the day the tender was held there were protests in Artvin and Ankara.
  • A short time after the tenders, Özaltın A.Ş. handed over its operating license in the mining site to Etibakır A.Ş. with the royalties.
  • 06.2012 – Two different lawsuits were filed at the Rize Administrative Tribunal on the grounds of the annulment of the tender and that a license could not be issued without an EIA report. The lawsuit concerning the tender was dismissed on the grounds that we were not a party in the tender, while the lawsuit concerning the revocation of license was dismissed on the grounds that an EIA was not required. Since an EIA favorable decision was made in the meantime, the lawsuit became devoid of essence.
  • In June 2012, an EIA meeting wanted to be held for four tailings impoundment. Due to the intense protests, the meeting was not held and the tailing impoundment project was abandoned.
  • November 2012 – For the two lawsuits, which were dismissed later, a motion for stay of execution was granted.
  • 6th April 2013 – With the participation of 10.000 people “No to Mine Public Demonstration” was held in Artvin. After that on 3th May 2013, a sit down strike was held in front of the company office.
  • 06.2013 – The EIA (environmental impact assessment) report of the company was announced. Thereupon a lawsuit was filed with 281 people on 26th September 2013 for the annulment of EIA favorable decision.
  • In 2013, the report titled ‘The Impact of the Mining Activities Planned for the Cerattepe and Genya Forests in the City of Artvin on the Natural Resources’, which was prepared by TMMOB Chamber of Forest Engineer, was published. (http://yesilartvindernegi.org/artvin-ili-cerattepe-ve-genya-dagi-ormanlarinda-planlanan-madencilik-faaliyetlerinin-dogal-kaynaklar-uzerine-etkileri-hakkinda-rapor/)
  • 2013 – Cengiz A.Ş. filed a lawsuit against Artvin Mayor Emin Özgün due to his speech in the public demonstration.
  • 2014 – The company applied for a license for surface gold mining at Cerattepe. In June 2014, the Governorship ruled that an EIA would be required for surface mining. The EIA meeting for the surface gold mining was protested in July 2014 and the meeting was not held.
  • 07.2014 – The expert exploration for the revocatory action for EIA for the underground copper mining was held. The people of Artvin formed a human chain of 1.5 km in order to welcome the expert committee.
  • 2014 – The officers of the Regional Directorate of Forestry and the mining company went to Cerrattepe in order to carry out the imprinting of the trees for the widening of the roads. The people of Artvin confronted them and prevented the stamping.
  • 2014 – The mining company tried to transport trucks and construction equipment to Cerattepe via the road through the Oruçlu village. They were stopped and they had to return.
  • 2014 – The expert exploration report was published. (For the report click on the link:  http://yesilartvindernegi.org/rize-idare-mahkemesi-cerattepe-bilirkisi-raporu-2014/)
  • November 2014 – The company declared that they are abandoning the surface mining project.
  • 2014 – The people of Artvin received information that the Regional Directorate of Forestry and the mining company would commence cutting the trees. The people of Artvin prevented this cutting down of trees. Moreover, the company security personnel, who had been sent to Kafkasör, were compelled to return to Artvin.
  • 2014 – Since the court did not grant a motion for stay of execution, the people of Artvin started a watch of 14 days at Cerattepe in order to prevent the company carrying out any operations in the field.
  • 2014 – Rize Administrative Tribunal granted a motion for stay of execution for the nullity of judgement for the EIA favorable decision.
  • 2014 – TMMOB (union of chambers of Turkish engineers and architects) published the Cerattepe Report. (For the report click on the link: http://yesilartvindernegi.org/tmmob-cerattepe-raporu/)
  • 01.2015 – Rize Administrative Tribunal annulled the EIA Favorable report.
  • 2015 – The company applied for a new EIA based on the Directive number 2009/7.
  • 2015 – A new EIA Favorable report decision was taken.
  • 2015 – Attorney Noyan Özkan Environment and Ecological Fight Honor Award was given to Green Artvin Association.
  • 2015 – The people of Artvin started a watch that would last 245 days at Cerattepe in order to prevent the company carry out any operations in the field after having received the EIA favorable decision.
  • 2015 – The company containers tried to access to Cerattepe. The people, who were keeping the watch, prevented them and the containers had to return from Kafkasör. The next day the company tried another way to access the field but they were stopped by the people. (The day when the photo with the log was taken).
  • 2015 – In the early hours of the day, the company accompanied by the gendarmerie and police tried to access to Cerattepe but they were stopped by the people.
  • 07.2015 – The biggest environmental lawsuit in Turkey was filed with the signatures of 751 participants and 61 attorneys for the nullity of judgement for the new EIA favorable decision.
  • 2015 – Information that the company would access the field was received. The road was blocked around the area called Atmaca. The company did not come but all the tradesmen hanged the inscription “This workplace shall be closed as soon as there is intervention to Cerattepe” on their windows.
  • 2016 – The company accompanied with the Regional Director of Forestry tried to access to Cerattepe by clearing out an alternative road, which had been blocked due to heavy snow. They were stopped by the people, who were keeping a watch and they had to return.
  • 2016 – The Association held a meeting with broad participation after having heard the news that a large number of security forces were heading to Artvin. Towards morning, the people started their watch at Atmaca in the Çamlık Quarter. The container and the construction equipment of the company arrived in Atmaca accompanied with security forces. Despite the security forces were informed about the legal process, the people of Artvin were attacked with gas and rubber bullets for the first time in their lives. The intervention continued till the evening but the people continued to resist.  The following day the intervention continued. The tradesmen closed down their workplaces for two days. On the second day, six people were taken into custody. At the end of the intense intervention, which continued for the whole day, the company accessed Cerrattepe accompanied with the security forces.
  • 2016 – The information request regarding whether the site delivery to the company was conducted or not was submitted to the Regional Directorate of Forestry. The following day, the official information stating that the site delivery had not been conducted was received from the Directorate.
  • 2016 – The police interfered the manifestation in order to access Cerattepe in front of the Artvin State Hospital. Gas and rubber bullets were use. Many people were injured.
  • 2016 – A criminal complaint was filed to Artvin Attorney Generalship against Artvin Governor, Police Commissioner and Gendarmerie Regional Commander for use of excessive force and allowing the company access the area in an illegal way.
  • 02.2016 – With the request of Green Artvin Association a meeting was organized with the Prime Minister Davutoğlu and the ministers. The association informed the Prime Minister about the legal process and the ecological structure of Cerrattepe. The Prime Minister stated that the mining activities would be ceased until the legal process is concluded and he would continue to hold meetings with us until this process is concluded.
  • 2016 – Green Artvin Association, press and the Environmental Commission of the Bar Association accessed Cerattepe for observation. The company officers were asked to show their licenses. With them stating that the licenses were in Murgul, they were asked to bring the licenses from Murgul.
  • 2016 – Expert committee of the court came to Cerattepe for exploration. The people formed a human chain of several kilometers. During the exploration, Prof. Dr. Doğan Kantarcı and Prof. Dr. Halil Murat Özler delivered speeches. A great number of lawyers and representatives of professional chambers were present in the exploration.
  • 2016 – TMMOB Chamber of Architects Contribution to Environment was granted to Green Artvin Association.
  • 2016 – Green Artvin Association received Environment and Climate Problems Award of Turkish Thorax Association for 2016.
  • 2016 – A panel titled “Rights of the Environment and People in Cerattepe” was organized at Artvin Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Cultural Center with the contribution of Bursa Bar Association and Green Artvin Association.
  • 2016 – The Chamber of Geological Engineers presented a thank you plaque to Green Artvin Association for their contribution to environmental consciousness in Artvin and their social and public campaign.
  • 2016 – Turkey Foresters Association organized a panel in Artvin titled “Intervention to Nature in and around Artvin and its Consequences”. (http://yesilartvindernegi.org/turkiye-ormancilar-dernegi-artvin-temcilciligi-paneli/)
  • 2016 – A petition was started by Building Workers International (BWI), which comprises of 335 unions from 131 countries, TARIM ORMAN-İŞ (Union of Public Employees of Agriculture, Forestry, Husbandry and Environmental Service Line) and Green Artvin Association, which has been fighting in order to protect Cerattepe from mining companies and other environmental hazards for over 20 years.

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