Turkey's gold production broke records in 2019, reaching the highest ever levels in the republic's history, the Turkish Gold Miners Association (AMD) said in a statement Thursday.
Turkey first started producing gold in 2001 when output was at 1.4 tons. That level climbed steadily to reach a then-record high of 33.5 tons in 2013 when 7,500 people were employed in the country's gold production sector.
Gold output in Turkey fell from 2014 through 2017, but climbed to 27.1 tons in 2018 and increased by around 40% from that year to reach 38 tons in 2019, according to AMD data.
"This year, gold production is estimated to climb above 45 tons to reach a new record high," AMD President Hasan Yücel said in the statement.
POTENTIAL FOR 6,500 TONS
Yücel said Turkey produced a total of 338 tons of gold between 2001-2019 but based on scientific data there are potential reserves of around 6,500 tons, of which 1,100 tons have been extracted so far.
While Turkey's gold production sector employs around 10,000 people today, according to Yücel, domestic gold production could also make a greater contribution to the economy by lowering the current account deficit.
"Importing 140-160 tons of gold every year creates a deficit of $7 billion-$8 billion. Turkey can easily erase 60% of this in the next few years because it has the potential, technology and the know-how," he explained.
Yücel noted that Turkey is one of the top countries in the world in terms of gold purchases per capita. Turkey's gold imports stood at 202 tons in 2018, according to AMD data.
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