Turkey has achieved a 58% decline in mining accidents over the last two years, Turkey's Deputy Energy and Natural Resources Minister Seref Kalayci said on Thursday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a mining association in Ankara, Kalayci spoke on the implementation of a field-level risk assessment system which categorizes the mining sites as "low-level," "medium-level and "high level", along with details on new developments in mine inspections.
He said out of a total of 8,602 minefields in Turkey that were inspected in 2019, 988 were categorized as "high risk."
"Mines that are in the low-level risk group will be inspected at least once a year, while medium-level mines will be inspected at least twice per year, and high-level risk-bearing mines will be inspected at least four times every year," he explained.
Kalayci spoke of the legislative regulations that have been put into place to aid families of mineworkers who lost their lives in work accidents, along with help through state-employment of the spouses and children.
He declared the minimum wage for workers in lignite and coal mines would be at least twice Turkey's average minimum wage coupled with mandatory personal accident insurance.
"These workers will have a maximum 7.5 hours of work per day, and 37.5 hours per week," he said.
As part of Turkey's strategy to utilize its local resources, he said a raw material list would be drawn up consisting of 14 crucial items to prevent import-dependency on ores and other raw materials.
The deputy minister said out of these 14 identified materials, five are considered low-level in Turkey, adding that those that have a high level of reserves need special production and marketing strategies to exploit their local potential.
"We also decided to follow specific strategies for 11 industrial raw materials, taking into account their reserve sizes, roles in the domestic market and export potential," Kalayci concluded.
By Sibel Morrow, Ovunc Kutlu