Rescue operations underway for trapped miners in eastern Türkiye: Energy Minister

Turkish energy minister says investigation into incident's causes and operational negligence underway after landslide at Copler mining site in Erzincan province

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All efforts are focused on rescuing trapped miners in a landslide at a mining site in Türkiye’s eastern Erzincan province, Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar said on Wednesday.

Following an onsite evaluation at the Copler mining site in the district of Ilic, where a landslide hit a gold mine, trapping at least nine workers underground, Bayraktar said in his address to reporters that 'while our immediate priority is the rescue of our fellow workers, we are simultaneously probing the root causes of the landslide and any operational negligence.'

'Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families in the aftermath of this terrible catastrophe,' he added.

An investigation into the cause and any potential operational faults is also ongoing, the outcome of which will be shared with the public, he said.

The site, which has been running since 2004 under the management of private firm Anagold Mining, received additional environmental permits in 2021, Bayraktar said.

He said that investigations are being conducted into potential events that may have happened since the site's last inspection in August of last year, when no evidence of a cause for a landslide similar to the one that occurred yesterday was discovered.

He also gave reassurances on the landslide's environmental impact, including potential effects on underground water sources and dams, saying that continuous monitoring is being conducted and 'our preliminary assessments indicate no immediate cause for concern.'

'We stand united in this difficult time, hopeful for the swift recovery of the nine miners still trapped. We will continue to update the public as more information becomes available,' Bayraktar concluded.