The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a US$75mn loan for the development of Centerra Gold’s Öksüt open-pit gold mine in Turkey.

The loan is part of an existing US$150mn project financing facility with UniCredit. The joint financing will be used for construction, development and operation of the mine.

The greenfield project, estimated to cost a total of US$220mn, is being developed by Öksüt Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret (OMAS), a wholly-owned Turkish subsidiary of the international gold mining company Centerra Gold.

Managing director for energy and natural resources at the EBRD, Riccardo Puliti, says: “We are pleased to support the entrance in the Turkish market of an experienced operator like Centerra. The overall aim of this operation is to create sustainable development in the mining sector while enhancing social inclusion and transparency.”

Centerra, a supporter of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), is committed to operating in line with Publish What You Pay principles, which require extractive industry companies to disclose what they pay to governments to extract natural resources.

With the EBRD’s help, Centerra will also explore ways to offer greater opportunities to female employees and women-led suppliers in Turkey. The mine is expected to create around 250 jobs.
Turkey is the largest gold producer in Europe and in the Mediterranean, with its gold consumption per capita one of the highest in the world. It is also among the top five largest gold importers globally.

The EBRD started investing in Turkey in 2009 and to date has invested over €7bn through more than 180 projects in infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, industry and finance. It has also mobilised about €17bn for these ventures from other sources of financing.