Alamos Gold, Inc., a Canadian mining company, has begun to engage in extensive deforestation of the Katz (Ida) Mountains in Northwestern Turkey, as it mines for gold. The company’s destructive operation has been authorized by the Turkish government, which allocated roughly 3,500 hectares (about 6540 football fields) for its gold search. In doing so, the company does not only threaten the forest itself, which covers 98.7 percent of the area, but also endangers the hundreds of species of animals native to the mountains and risks polluting the water sources for hundreds of thousands of Turkish people residing in nearby towns and villages.
A change.org petition launched by Simge Topaloglu seeks to pressure Alamos Gold, Inc. to reverse its course. The petition, addressed to Alamos Gold, Inc.’s CEO and Vice President, as well as to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calls on the company to acknowledge its responsibility to the environment, abandon its gold search, and stay clear from the Ida forest.
Alamos Gold, Inc. is not the only Canadian mining company engaging in environmentally destructive projects around the world. In fact, Canadian mining companies presently constitute more than 75% of mining business worldwide. From Europe to South America to Asia, Canadian-owned companies exploit natural resources, destroy environmental treasures, accelerate extinction of animal and plant species, and ravage the natural habitat of local communities.
Alamos Gold, Inc.’s operation in Turkey’s Ida forest has already wreaked havoc in the region, despite the fact it was only approved in March 2019. Based on satellite imagery of the area, the company has already razed approximately 200,000 trees, which already exceeds by 4 times the number of trees it planned to cut down as per its environmental impact report submitted in order to have the project authorized. This number is only projected to grow as months go by.
Additionally, the company is predicted to use roughly 20,000 tons of cyanide in order to extract gold, which would pollute the water sources of about 180,000 people.
According to the petition, the Ida forest is home to “8 mammal species, 41 bird species, 10 reptile species, 117 insect species, and 283 plant species.”
All of these are being placed under grave danger due to the negligence, recklessness, and greed of both Alamos Gold, Inc. and the Turkish authorities (who are just as complicit in the annihilation of the Ida forest).
In a recent Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems, the IPCC reaffirms the inextricable link between forests and climate change, as well as presents additional facts on how forests interact with the atmosphere. The IPCC report indicates that deforestation and land-degradation significantly exacerbate the climate crisis, inducing water scarcity, drought, and food-shortages.
The report also expounds on how protecting our forests from destruction could play a crucial role in mitigating the harm caused by human-induced CO2 emissions and slowing down the disastrous effects of the climate crisis.
The desire for maximisation of profits by governments and corporations trumps their commitment to the environment and the survival of our planet. We cannot allow this to continue. It is time we comprehend that our struggle is one, and we must show our governments as well as companies operating in our countries that we will not stand silently by as they ravage the earth and hurl us towards the edge of a cliff.