Four detained amid probe into landslide at Turkish gold mine

14 February 2024, 12:54

Landslide from above
Turkey Mine Landslide. Picture: PA

At least nine workers are missing after the incident at the Copler mine in Erzincan province.

Four people have been detained in connection with a massive landslide that engulfed a gold mine in eastern Turkey, leaving at least nine workers missing, state media reported.

The landslide struck the Anagold Madencilik company’s Copler mine in the town of Ilic in Turkey’s mountainous Erzincan province on Tuesday.

Video seemingly shot by a worker showed a huge mass of earth rushing down a gully, overrunning everything in its path. The landslide involved a mound of soil extracted from the mine, interior minister Ali Yerlikaya said.

Relatives are escorted at the site
Relatives of missing miners leave the Copler gold mine (Dia images via AP)

More than 800 search and rescue personnel, including police and military teams, mine rescuers and volunteers, were deployed to search for the nine missing personnel, Mr Yerlikaya said.

Other workers at the mine have also joined the efforts to rescue their colleagues, while families of the missing waited in an area close to the mine for news of their loved ones, Haberturk television reported.

Mr Yerlikaya later told reporters that five of the missing workers were believed to be near or inside a metal container when the landslide hit.

Three others were either inside or close to a vehicle, while another was inside a truck, he said, adding that rescuers were using radar detection devices to try to locate the missing.

Mr Yerlikaya added: “We have started to search (for the vehicles and container) with metal radar detection. As soon as we get a trace of these vehicles and container with these radar scans, we want to focus on them and make progress.”

Turkey Mine Landslide
Rescuers have pressed ahead with efforts to search for several workers trapped at the mine (Dia images via AP)

Police, meanwhile, detained four senior mine officials, including the field manager, as part of an investigation into the disaster, national broadcaster TRT reported.

Experts have warned that the landslide may carry environmental risks. Geologist Suleyman Pampal said the soil that formed the landslide had been processed for gold and may contain dangerous substances such as cyanide that is used to extract gold. He also warned of a threat to the nearby Euphrates River.

The environment ministry said that a stream leading to the Euphrates was closed to prevent water pollution. Erzincan governor Hamza Aydoglu also said there was no leakage into the waterway.

The mine was closed down in 2020 following a cyanide leak into the river, which stretches through Turkey, Syria and Iraq. It reopened two years later after the company was fined and a clean-up operation was completed.

Energy minister Alparslan Bayraktar said the mine was last inspected in August, adding: “During their inspections, they did not find anything relating to the mining accident that took place yesterday.

“Our investigation into what may have caused the accident is continuing.”

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Russia Ukraine War

More civilians die in Ukraine amid warning US aid delays will hamper Kyiv forces

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy and Paloma Faith join celebrities demanding Government act over Sudan

Dawn Singleton was among six victims of the stabbings

Victim of Sydney stabbings 'bought wedding dress days earlier' and was preparing to send out invitations

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

Israel says Iran conflict 'not over' and vows to 'collect a price when timing is right', as US urges restraint

Poland Abortion

Polish opponents of abortion march against recent steps to liberalise strict law

Five of the six victims from the stabbing have been named.

Victims of Sydney stabbings named as heartbroken tributes flood in following attack by knifeman who killed six

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel