Koza Altyn to reopen Ecukuralan goldfield.
Koza Altyn, the owner of the BugE-n daily and Kanal TE-rk TV station, had its operations in the Ecukuralan goldfield, one of the company's five major gold mines, halted on Dec. 31 in a move that has been perceived as the most recent example of the government's exploitation of inspections and red tape to put pressure on those with critical views.
In a statement to the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP) on Friday, Koza Altyn said the yzmir 4th Administrative Court has ordered a stay of execution for halting activities at the goldfield in response to the company's appeal to the court.
"With the court's decision, the Ecukuralan goldfield will restart its activities," the statement said.
After the court's decision, the shares of Koza Altyn, which are listed on the Borsa ystanbul (BIST), traded at TL 22.30 with a 6.44 percent increase.
It has long been speculated that the government has been working to subordinate Koza Holding's companies and to reduce critical coverage of the government's authoritarian policies by its media groups. Websites publishing one-sided, pro-government articles and commentary mentioned the closure of the goldfield on Monday, a day before the decision of the closure had even reached the company, raising suspicions that the move was politically motivated.
The order for the closure of the field had come from the yzmir Provincial Administration, with the reason cited as the absence of "environmental permits or the environmental permits and licenses document."
After the decision to close the field, Koza Altyn issued a statement for the KAP to announce, saying the decision to halt production in the goldfield was illegal and that the company would pursue legal options.
It said the company holds a permit and a temporary activity license, which is valid until Feb. 20, 2014, from the Environmental Impact Assessment, Permit and Supervision General Directorate (EcEDGM) of the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning. Koza Altyn said all the necessary documents and required information were submitted on time and that every activity has been in full compliance with the law. Additionally, a valid Environmental Impact Report (EcED), issued on March 11, 2011, is still in effect and there is no problem with it, the statement asserted.
The gold mining company is the only one in Turkey with 100 percent domestic ownership and is the third private company on the list of top performers in terms of corporate taxes. The company's Ecukuralan field provides employment to over 1,000 workers and operates at European level standards, the statement said.
According to information on the company's website, the Ecukuralan field has been active since April 2010 and Koza Altyn was projecting to dig a total of 3.5 million tons of gold ore from the field by 2017.
The government's use of inspections to punish those companies that dissent politically is not new. It imposed a fine of $850 million on publisher Doy-an Yayyn Holding in 2007, after which the company's newspapers and magazines had to turn down the volume on their criticisms. Similarly, the Finance Ministry's inspectors raided some heavyweight energy companies of Koc Holding after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an openly lashed out at the company, believing it was one of the plotters and instigators of the Gezi protests last summer. This scrutiny of the activities of the companies is ongoing.
(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN
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|Publication:||Cihan News Agency (CNA)|
|Date:||Jan 10, 2014|
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