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 terms of 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 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, mining activities and the search and production of mainly silver, gold,
manganese, copper and chrome ore have increased considerably in Turkey as in the rest
of the world.
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 Mine Works
General Management, Turkish Hard Coal Corporation (TKİ), Turkish Hard Coal Institute
(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
Turkey has a 6% share in world chromite mining and possesses 25 million tons of
reserves. Ferrochromium is the most important product in production and exports. The
majority of Turkey’s chromite production has been utilized by the ferrochromium industry.
In 2007, Turkey ranked 3rd 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
Turkey’s total export of chromite was US$465,3 million with a 3,4% decrease in 2011.
Major markets were China (%82), Russia (%5), Sweden (%2) and India (%2). The most
important ferrochromium markets for Turkey were the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium.
The recognized copper reserves of Turkey are about 3.7 million tons of metal copper;
nevertheless, total reserves amount to 15.8 million tons. Turkey has three important
copper reserves: the East Black Sea, Southeast Anatolia and Thrace. Rods, profiles and
cables are the most important export products in the sector. Turkey’s copper ore exports
were US$ 364,8 million in 2011. The main buyers were China, India, Sweden and Finland.
Turkey’s zinc reserves are about 2.7 million tons. Although Turkey has 2.07 % of world
zinc reserves, ore production accounts for only 0.28% of world production. Zinc oxide ore
reserves are located in the Zamanti (Kayseri/Nigde/Adana) district of Middle Taurus. In
addition, some small reserves are found in Konya, Malatya, Bingol and Bitlis.
Turkey annually produces about 40 thousand tons of 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 2011, approximately US$ 202,8 million worth of
zinc ore and concentrate was exported mainly to Belgium, China and Bulgaria.
Turkey possesses 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 Manisa/Demirci, Kutahya/Simav, Aydın/Cine and Mugla/Milas. The rise in world
production of white body tile and granite 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 reached US$ 130,8 million
in 2011. Italy, Spain, Russia and Poland were the most important markets for Turkish
feldspar. In 2011, Turkey ranked first in feldspar exports in the world with a share of 32%.
Turkey’s magnesite reserves are about 168.4 million tons. Most of these reserves are
concentrated in the Konya-Kutahya-Eskisehir 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 produce raw magnesite.
Some of them provide raw magnesite to the large domestic dead burned 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 iron and steel industry. In 2011, magnesite
exports were about US$ 90 million, and Austria, Ireland and Germany were the major
markets for Turkish magnesite. In 2011, Turkey ranked second in magnesite exports in the
world with a share of 32%.
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 Edirne-Enez, Çankırı, Tokat-Resadiye,
Ankara-Kalecik and Giresun-Tirebolu. Bentonite production and exports have increased in
the 1990’s and reached US$39,2 million with a 21% increase in 2011.
Bentonite exports were mainly directed to Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and France.
Known kaolin reserves are found in some villages of Balıkesir, Nevsehir, Nigde, Bolu,
Canakkale, and in the East Black Sea region. Turkey’s probable kaolin reserves are about
100 million tons. In 2011, the total export value of kaolin was US$2,9 million. Tunisia,
Lebanon, Italy, England and Syria ranked as top markets for Turkish exports in 2011.
Turkey possesses 26 million tons of baryte which is about 2.1 % of the total world
reserves. These reserves are composed of good quality baryte for all types including
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 Kutahya. Being located near the
most important consumers of barytes, Turkey has advantage in exporting baryte products.
The total export value of baryte was US$17,1 million in 2011 and the major markets for
Turkish barytes were Iraq, Ukraine and Finland.
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 .
Turkish mining exports reached US$2 billion in 2011. Turkey’s mineral exports have a
share of 1.56% in Turkey’s total exports in 2011. Chrome, copper , natural borates and
zinc are the major metallic minerals which are exported. Natural stones, borates, feldspar,
magnesite, pumice stone, baryte, kaolin, clays and calcite are the most important industrial
minerals. In 2011, China and the European Union were the main markets in Turkey’s
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