The minerals sector is one of the leading sectors supplying raw materials to domestic industry. Turkey possesses the largest resources of most minerals in the world and is one of the world’s richest countries in minerals. Excluding petroleum and coal there are 53 exploitable minerals and metals and 4,500 mineral deposits in Turkey.
Turkey’s geology is extremely complex and this complexity is reflected in the diversity of its mineral deposits. Best known for its industrial minerals, Turkey is a major producer of boron minerals, feldspar, marble, baryte, celestite (strontium), emery, limestone, magnesite, perlite and pumice. A wide variety of primary metallic minerals are produced as well. Copper and chromite are the most significant minerals in the metals sector. Turkey is a major world producer of processed mineral commodities, including refined borates and related chemicals, cement, ceramics and glass. In addition, Turkey is a significant producer of ferrochromium and steel.
In recent years, as in the rest of the world, mining activities, the search and production of mainly silver, gold, manganese, copper and chrome ore have increased considerably in Turkey.
Today 53 different minerals are produced in the Turkish mining sector. Most of the production is carried out by the private sector. The main producers are Eti Maden İşlt. Gen. Müd., Türkiye Taş Kömürü İşletmesi (TKİ), Türkiye Taş Kömürü Kurumu (TTK) and private sector companies. The public sector is dominant in fuel minerals and metallic ore production while the private sector is concentrated in industrial mineral production.
Marble and Other Natural Stones
Turkey has large marble reserves which include a wide range of colors. Among the more than 100 varieties of Turkish marble, marbles having shades ranging from very light gray to black and brilliant white are available in Turkey.
Some world famous natural stone varieties are Afyon White, Afyon Tigerskin, Bilecik Pink, Marmara White, Burdur Brown, Denizli Travertine, Elazig Cherry, Karacabey Black, Milas Kavaklıdere, Aeagan Bordeaux, Aksehir Black, Thracian Granite and Ayvalik Granite. In addition to these well known stone varieties, in recent years slate stone, pebble stone and tufa are coming to the forefront in Turkey’s stone export.
Turkey contains 40% of world’s marble reserves. The total reserves including proven, probable and possible reserves are about 5 billion m 3 .
Although resources are spread throughout the country, the major marble centers are found in Afyon, Bilecik, Burdur, Denizli, Mugla, Elazığ, Balıkesir, Diyarbakır and Eskişehir. Turkey’s annual block marble production is approximately 1200 thousand tons and the production of tiles and slabs is around 13 million square meters. The products include a wide range of marble, travertine, slate stone, tufa, granite and onyx.
According to data from MIGEM( The General Directorate of Mining Affairs), production of natural stones has an upward trend in Turkey. Andesite, basalt, marble and travertine are main products in Turkish stone industry.
Recently granite has been widely used in Turkey. Turkey has extensive granite reserves around Ordu, Rize, Trabzon, Balıkesir, Kırklareli, Bolu, Kırşehir, İzmit, Çanakkale and İzmir.
Modern production equipment and methods have been very important factors in the development of the natural stone industry in Turkey. The increase in production, the vitality of the construction sector in the domestic market and the presence of new technologies have contributed to the widespread use of natural stones as a construction material.
Turkish natural stone exports have increased significantly since 1980 in line with the development of Turkey’s economic performance and reached US$1.22 billion in 2009. This figure includes US$700 million for processed marble, US$471 million for block marble and US$ 58.2 million for granite and other hard stones. Processed marble is the highest valueadded product and it is the most important export item in total marble exports. In 2009 major markets for Turkish processed natural stones exports were the USA, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Canada and the Iraq. In 2008 Turkey ranked first in rawblock natural stone exports in the world with a share of 26% and ranked 3 rd with a share of %9 in processed natural stones.
Natural stone produced in Turkey are manufactured in accordance with international standards. The one of the important developments in stone industry is CE Marking application. Companies affix “the CE Mark” under the Construction Products Directive of EU which is in force in Turkey since 2007.
Turkey possesses two third of the world’s borate reserves and has 67% of world boron reserve with 883 million ton on the basis of B203. (This ratio is about 72% if approximate 102 million tons B203 reserve of Satimola boron deposits located in Kazakhstan is not taken into account)
Recent Boron Exploration Project showed that the boron reserves in the BigadiçEmet KırkaKestelek boron basin are about 3 billion tons much more than the earlier estimates.
With this increase Turkey now possesses 72% of the world boron reserves Turkey is the leader exporter of the mineral in the world. The mining, production and marketing rights of the boron mineral was given to the Eti Maden İşletmeleri. Eti Maden produce colemanite, ulexite and tincal concentrates as well as refinery products as; Etibor 48, borax decahydrate, boric acid and anhydrous borax and supply these to the world markets.
In 2008, Eti Maden realized approximately 37% of world boron production with715, 946 tons B203 salable product and met 36.4% of world boron demand.
In 2008, boron production sales were 536 million dollar. 519 million dollars of this were belongs to export. Overseas sales of boron chemicals and equivalent product reached 1,117 thousand tons in 2008.
Turkey’s proven copper reserves are about 3.7 million tons metal copper, total reserves are 15.8 million tons. Turkey has three important copper reserves; the East Black Sea, Southeast Anatolia and Thrace.
Rods, profiles and cables are the most important export products in the sector. Turkey’s copper ore exports were US$284 million in 2009. The main buyers were China, Finland, Sweden and India.
Turkey possess 10% of total world feldspar reserves. Turkey’s feldspar reserves are estimated to be 239 million tons(visible+potential). Important feldspar reserves are located in ManisaDemirci, KutahyaSimav, AydınÇine and MuglaMilas.
The rise in world production of white body tile and granito tile has increased the demand for feldspar. Turkish producers are now competing in the domestic and international markets to supply this material. Most of the feldspar is produced by the private sector and 90 % of the production is exported.
Feldspar exports started in 1990 and it is reached US$87 million in 2009 with 41% decrease. Italy, Spain, Russia and the BAE were the most important markets for Turkish feldspar. In 2008 Turkey ranked 2 nd in feldspar exports in the world with a share of 14%.
Turkey has a 6% share in world chromite mining and possess 25 million tons of reserves. Ferrochromium is the most important product in production and exports. The majority of Turkey’s chromite production has been consumed, by the ferrochromium industry. In 2007 Turkey ranked 3 rd in chromite exports in the world with a share of 12.8%.
The most important chromite reserves are located in the Guleman district of Elazig, the Kopdag district of Erzincan, the Fethiye district of Koycegiz, Mugla, Eskisehir and the Pozanti district of Adana, Harmancik, the Orhaneli district of Bursa and the Pinarbaşı district of Kayseri.
In 2009, Turkey’s total export of chromite was US$268 million. Major markets were China (%88), Russia (%4), Sweden and Belgium. The most important ferrochromium markets for Turkey were the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium.
Turkey’s magnesite reserves are about 168.4 million tons. Most of these reserves are concentrated in KonyaKutahyaEskisehir triangle. In addition some reserves are located in Erzincan and Canakkale.
Raw magnesite, dead burned and caustic calcined magnesite are produced in Turkey. Several small companies also produces raw magnesite. Some of them provide raw magnesite to the large domestic deadburned magnesite producers or to the ceramic industry, while others export their products. Magnesite is exported as raw magnesite, calcined, sintered and burned. Magnesite is also exported as bricks which are used in the ironsteel industry.
In 2009, magnesite exports were about US$58 million; Austria, Greece and Germany were the major markets for Turkish magnesite. In 2008 Turkey ranked first in magnesite exports in the world with a share of 32%.
Turkey’s zinc reserves are about 2.7 million tons. Although Turkey has 2.07 % of world zinc reserves, ore production is only 0.28 % of world production. Zinc oxide ore reserves are located in the Zamanti (KayseriNigdeAdana) district of Middle Taurus. In addition some small reserves are found in Konya, Malatya, Bingol and Bitlis.
Turkey annually produces about 40 thousand tons zinc metal. Half of the production is consumed in the domestic market and the rest is exported. Exports have increased in parallel with the increase in production. In 2009, approximately US$99 million worth of zinc ore and concentrate had been exported mainly to China, Belgium, Finland and Spain.
Turkey’s proven, probable and possible pumice reserves are about 2.8 billion m3. The present reserves in Turkey are concentrated in Central Anatolia, especially in the Urgup Avanos and TalasTamarzaDeveli district of Kayseri. It is also found in the Bitlis, Van, Agri and Kars districts of Eastern Anatolia, Nigde, Konya, Ankara, Isparta and Mugla.
The total value of Turkey’s pumice exports was US$14 million. China, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the UAE were important pumice markets in 2009.
In 2008 Turkey ranked 3 rd in pumice exports in the world with a share of 6.8%.
Turkey possess 26 million tons of baryte which is about 2.1 % of the total world reserves. These reserves include good quality baryte whether ground, crude or micronized. The largest share of Turkish baryte production is sold to oil drillers. Important baryte deposits are located in Konya, Maras, Muş, Antalya and Kütahya.
Being located near the most important consumers of barytes, Turkey has a good opportunity to export baryte products. In 2009, Iraq, Egypt, Ukraine and Azerbaijan were the major markets for Turkish barytes.
Bentonite and Kaolin
Turkey’s bentonite reserves are 370 million tons. The production of ground bentonite has been rising steadily during the last 20 years. At present Turkey is a net exporter of bentonite. Known bentonite deposits are found in EdirneEnez, Çankırı, TokatReşadiye, AnkaraKalecik and GiresunTirebolu.
Bentonite production and exports have been increased throughout the 1990’s and reached US$24 million with 10% increase in 2009. Bentonite exports were mainly directed to Germany, the Netherlands, France and Italy.
Known kaolin reserves are in the Balıkesir village district of Marmara region, Nevsehir, Nigde, Bolu, Canakkale and East Black Sea region. Turkey’s probable kaolin reserves are about 100 million tons. In 2009, the total export value of kaolin was US$2 million. Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria, Greece and Italy ranked as top markets in 2009.
Over half of the perlite reserves of the world are in Turkey. Turkey’s possible perlite reserves are about 4.5 billion tons. The most important perlite reserves are found in Cumaovasi, Manisa, Biga, Soma, Izmir, Dikili, Konya and Erzincan. In 2009, the major destinations for perlite were Spain, Belgium, Italy, India and Brasil.
Calcium carbonate rocks are spread throughout the world, which is why they have been among the most widely used raw materials for more than 5000 years.
Turkey has %40 of world calcite reserves. According to private sector representatives, in recent years calcite exports have increased significantly. Niğde, Çanakkale, Bayramiç, Biga, Ezine, Balıkesir, Trakya, Bursa, İzmir, Muğla are the major locations for calcite reserves.
Gold and Silver
Turkey’s potential gold reserves are 6500 tons. 700 tons of this is ready for processing. Recent exploration activities have also indicated increased reserves of gold. The major locations for gold (metal) production are BergamaOvacık, GümüşhaneMastra, Uşak Kışladağı and Erzincanİliç. Turkey’s silver metal reserve is 6.062 tons(visible+potential). Reserves are concentrated in Artvin, Balıkesir, Elazığ, İzmir, Kütahya, Niğde, Ordu, Sivas and Erzincan.
Turkey’s exploitable trona ore reserves are approximately 900 million tons. Reserves are located in Beypazarı(250 million ton) and the Kazan and Sincan district of Ankara. Turkey ranked second in the world trona reserves after USA. Government and private sector joint venture Eti Soda A.Ş. started operation for extracting and processing of reserves which are placed in Beypazarı.
Other Important Minerals
Turkey has a wealth of industrial minerals. The other important commercially produced minerals are plaster, sepiolite, diatomite, zeolite, sulphur, lead, silver, antimony, alumina ore, gypsum, phosphate, salt, sodium, sulphate, quartz, industrial sand, dolomite, talc, wollastonite, kyanite, calcite, emery rock and calcium fluorite .
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