Gold Miner Seeks $1 Billion From Turkey for Stalled Mine

Canadian miner Alamos Gold Inc. said it’s pursuing a $1 billion claim against Turkey for preventing a controversial mining project from going ahead.

Two Netherlands-based Alamos units will file an investment treaty claim against Turkey for “expropriation and unfair and inequitable treatment” concerning its Kirazli gold mine project in the country, the Toronto-based parent said Tuesday in a statement.

The claim, filed under the Netherlands-Turkey Bilateral Investment Treaty, is expected to exceed $1 billion, Alamos said, adding that the amount represents the value of its Turkish assets. The company expects to take an impairment charge of about $215 million in its second quarter. Shares fell 0.3% to C$10.88 at 9:57 a.m. trading in Toronto.

Alamos is escalating efforts after the Turkish government wouldn’t renew mining licenses for the project in October 2019, and a year later canceled a forestry permit tied to the development in western Turkey. Alamos suspended all operations in Kirazli in 2019 following protests attended by tens of thousands of locals and environmentalists.

“After 10 years of effort and over $250 million invested by the company, we have been shut down for over 18 months in a manner without precedent in Turkey, despite having received all the permits to build and operate a mine,” Alamos Chief Executive Officer John McCluskey said in the statement. “The Turkish government has given us no indication that relief is in sight, nor will they engage with us in an effort to renew the outstanding licenses.”

Turkey’s Energy Ministry declined to comment on the matter.

Alamos had predicted in 2017 that it could mine 540,000 ounces of gold in Kirazli in five years. Speaking to Bloomberg in March, Ahmet Senturk, head of the company’s Turkish unit, said Alamos was “waiting patiently” for permits, but signaled it would go to court if there was no renewal.

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