Today we visited Eldorado’s Tuprag Efemςukuru (Efem-chukuru) gold mine. After our tour bus made its way up a narrow road that winds up a vineyard-covered hillside, where we were received by Richard Boffey, the mine’s general manager. Richard gave us a presentation outlining the mine’s history and operational background.
It was fascinating to learn that mining of the orebodies at Efemςukuru started several centuries ago during the times of Roman rule. Throughout the initial construction stages of the underground operations, workers were surprised by the discovery of large voids and ancient timber sets. Roman mining took place primarily in the fault zones of the ore body and extended to an impressive depth from surface of 120m. As any mining engineer can appreciate, learning that the ore removed by the Romans dropped Efemςukuru’s initially estimated reserves by 20,000 ounces must have been bitter sweet.
According to Richard it has taken nearly 20 years to finally bring the mine into production. Despite support from four villages close to the mine, opposition from anti mining groups in Izmir prevented the mine from going into production. Eventually permits were obtained and the mine went into production. The mine itself showcased the pride that the workers take in their work environment. The underground workings were clean and all services were hung up in hangers. The mill itself was very clean and everything seemed to be logical and practical. The Knelson CVD was of significant interest to the head of our department, Bern Klein, who noted that it was one that is rarely used throughout the industry. Our tour guides from the mine and mill showcased their knowledge of the site and technical knowledge in general.
The rich history of Turkey and what we saw today as a direct association with mining, has ensured us that choosing Turkey as the location of our research trip has already paid off.