October 14, 2019 / 2:35 PM / a month ago

Alamos Gold halts construction at Turkish project amid protests

(Reuters) - Alamos Gold has halted construction work at its Kirazli project in western Turkey, the Canadian gold miner said on Monday, after its mining concessions expired on Sunday amid protests against the project.

Thousands of Turks, including opposition lawmakers, have been protesting against the mine, saying the company would use cyanide to extract gold, contaminating the soil and waters of a nearby dam. They have also said Alamos has cut down more trees than it had declared.

Alamos Chief Executive Officer John McCluskey told Reuters in August that the firm had pre-paid for reforestation at the project, adding that it was impossible for cyanide to leak into the environment as protesters fear.

Alamos said on Monday that while mining concessions have not been revoked and can be renewed after the expiration date, no more construction can be completed until the renewal of the concessions.

The company’s U.S.-listed shares were down 4.8% at $5.42 as it also said the move would delay the first production from Kirazli from earlier expectations of late 2020.

Alamos said it had met all regulatory formalities and expected to get the renewal by the expiration date of Sunday. It is now working with the Turkish Department of Energy and Natural Resources on getting the concessions renewed.

The company added it would provide an updated guidance on the construction schedule and budget for the project after the concessions are renewed.

Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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