Gold production in Turkey broke a record in 2019 to reach its highest level in the history of the Turkish Republic, according to a statement by Turkish Gold Miners Association (AMD) on Thursday.
Turkey first started producing gold in 2001 when output was 1.4 tonnes. That level climbed steadily to reach a then record high of 33.5 tonnes in 2013 when 7,500 people were employed in the country's gold production sector.
Gold output in Turkey fell from 2014 through 2017, but climbed to 27.1 tonnes in 2018 and increased by around 40% from that year to reach 38 tonnes in 2019, according to AMD data.
"This year, gold production is estimated to climb above 45 tonnes to reach a new record high level," AMD President Hasan Yucel said in the statement.
- 6,500 tonnes of potential
Yucel said Turkey produced a total of 338 tonnes of gold between 2001-2019 but based on scientific studies, there is potential reserves of 6,500 tonnes from which 1,100 tonnes have been extracted so far.
While Turkey's gold producing sector employs around 10,000 people today, according to Yucel, domestic gold production could also make a greater contribution to the economy by lowering the current account deficit.
"Importing 140-160 tonnes of gold every year creates a deficit of $7-$8 billion. Turkey can easily erase 60% of this in the next few years, because it has the potential, technology and the know-how," he explained.
Yucel noted that Turkey is one of the top countries in the world in terms of gold purchases per capita.
Turkey's gold imports stood at 202 tonnes in 2018, according to AMD data.
By Ovunc Kutlu