In recent years, Turkey has undoubtedly been among the fastest developing economies in a global perspective. The long-term strategy of Turkish government assumes that in 2023 Turkey will be among 10 largest economies in the world in terms of the GDP produced. The most important industrial sectors include: automotive and machine industry, energy, oil-refining, ceramic and furniture industries, as well as mining industry. In respect of the mining sector, the needs of the Turkish market are extensive as the energy production in Turkey is to a large extent based on lignite, and this provides an opportunity for cooperation for the Polish companies.
Numerous new mines are being opened as a result of the growing demand for energy. One of the reasons for such dynamic development is the fact that Turkish government is highly concerned about the broadly understood energy sovereignty. Due to its political location, Turkey cannot rely on its Eastern neighbours in this respect. Therefore, the government facilitates the construction of new power plants for the entrepreneurs who demonstrate access to a reliable domestic source of a resource, most often lignite.
A market with high potential for cooperation
When such access is documented, power plants are built; they are usually rather small in size due to the fact that lignite cannot be transported over large distances, so it is used in the direct vicinity of deposits. The growing demand for energy, on the other hand, stimulates development of mining. It is worth emphasising that Turkey is not a member of the European Union, therefore it does not have to adopt the limitations concerning climate protection and carbon dioxide emissions. The fact that mining in Turkey is not as advanced as it is in Poland makes Turkey an attractive market, pretty much devoid of local competition.
Mining industry in Turkey began to develop dynamically in the 1990s. The needs of the local market have been continuously growing ever since. It has been observed, however, that - with the increase in needs - the number of problems, which make it impossible for Turkey to effectively function in modern mining, have occurred within the last decade. The lack of specialists and technical solutions along with the changes in the domestic market pose the main problems. For this reason, Turkey resorts to the knowledge of specialists from such places like Poland, where mining is at a considerably higher level. The Polish technological thought contributes not only to the effectiveness of mining, but, first and foremost, to the implementation of new technologies and modern machinery. It is the shortage of properly trained staff at every level of operation that constitutes a barrier in modern Turkish mining industry.
When I was analysing the causes and effects of the tragic accident that took place in May 2014 in the mine in Soma, where 301 people were killed by fire, I observed a certain similarity to the Polish mining industry of early 1950s. Polish mining also suffered from a lack of properly trained staff. We could not develop automation or implement more efficient technologies because there were no specialists in those areas. Turkey is currently struggling with the same problem. There are too few engineers trained to use new, more effective technologies or work in challenging geological conditions.
Hardware + software + orgware
In my opinion, in order to achieve the desired goal of mine operation, a synergy of three factors is needed. We must make use of hardware - namely machinery and equipment, software - that is technologies not only related to machine production but also to mining, and ensure that people are properly trained as it also constitutes an element of technology. Finally, we must focus on orgware (which combines technology with equipment) - namely organisation of work adapted to the new technological solutions. Turkey has not perfected that model yet. Many specialists in the Turkish market are people who obtained their know-how while working in German mines; the number of such engineers, however, is still insufficient. For this reason, FAMUR Group also offers the option of technology implementation. An example can be the contract with a Turkish mine, Imbat Madencilik, where apart from supplying longwall systems, we also contracted for the implementation of a technical level, and it took almost 2 years until the Turkish staff were trained to the desired extent.
FAMUR Group will always help you to find the best solution
Another, quite recent example, is a Turkish project, Amasra East. It is a project of a modern mine, prepared by the Mining Research and Project Office [Biuro Studiów i Projektów Górniczych], which no longer exists in such form, on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement. I had a chance to see the project. Problems emerged when the Turkish party began to introduce modifications into it, without taking account of it as a whole. It resulted in numerous financial losses, and the documents which had been prepared were rejected by banks on the grounds of being unreliable. Seeing this, we came forward offering our help, as it is important to us that the project be successfully concluded.
In situations like that, FAMUR Group becomes involved, offering designs, advice and help to our customers so that they can make the right choice and avoid learning from their own mistakes. We truly believe that our customers should be protected from making mistakes, if possible. Even though we are a potential supplier, we will always offer advise on the best solution, considering all the factors mentioned above. Thanks to our help, the Customers can now prepare reliable applications for the needs of financial institutions under the Amasra East project. The documents needed for this purpose also received a positive opinion from the Central Mining Institute in Poland, thus gaining support with regard to their reliability, which was the weakness of the previously prepared financial documents.