Turkey will offer 500 coal mines to investors

Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources will offer 500 coal mines across the country to potential investors in public tenders.

Details of the various sales will be released in a minimum of 15 days, along with information on the conditions of participation and the scope of the licenses on offer, according to a decision by the ministry published in the Official Gazette on Monday.

Coal-fire power production meets about one-third of Turkey's electricity needs and covers a quarter of Turkey's primary energy consumption, according to 2018 data published by the ministry.

The Turkish government is seeking to support an expansion in the production of power with local coal and is promoting new coal-fired power plants. It says increased mining of the country's widespread lignite coalfields are a way of minimising imports of hard coal and natural gas. Environmentalists oppose increased production of lignite, saying that quality is inferior and causes unnecessary pollution.

Turkey is seeking to tighten supervision of coal production as it increases supply. It has had a poor reputation for labour safety in mines and for illegal mining.

Between 2000 and 2018, there were more than 21,000 workplace accidents in coal mines in Turkey, resulting in 534 deaths and 11,000 injuries. Some 3,000 workers have been left disabled due to their injuries, often caused by collapsing tunnels.

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