Our primary objective is to be the country that exports energy

Berat ALBAYRAK, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources expressed his views concerning the new energy policy of Turkey and the role of MTA (Mineral Research and Exploration General Directorate) during a meeting with the press.

What's the target in sustainable energy?

In 2016, electricity production from national resources has increased up to 49.3 percent from national coal, hydroelectric power plants, solar power, wind power etc. I believe that by 2020, two thirds of our energy production will be from national resources. In 2017, national resources will account for more than 50 percent.

In National coal, solar and wind power, we will make an investment of at least 5000 megawatt each, and by 2023, at least 15000 megawatt will be generated based on national resources. We have reached a new stage in coal production. In following weeks, Karapınar Project will be initiated producing 1000 megawatt called as YEKA Model. By the end of the summer, a bid for 1000 megawatt wind power plant will have been completed.

Do we really know the mineral reserves of Turkey accurately?

We are now making geophysical maps by aerial viewing, and geochemical maps by taking and observing samples from earth surfaces. Turkey has now fallen even further behind in the production of these maps, whereas, European countries have already completed these maps decades ago. So  far, we have completed these maps only by 30 percent. Our target is, by 2020, to have completed these maps and to have had an xray and a tomography scan throughtout Turkey. Mineral exploration has a lot to do with math and statistics. The more you explore, the more you find. We have effective strategies and objectives relating to mining. We have carried out a reorganization in MTA and MIGEM, we have a new, dynamic team.

We have established UMREK and Core Data Bank. For instance, a successful workshop was held last week involving experts from the sector, international academics and professionals from Canada and Australia. We have introduced a new international mining reporting system of Turkey. In accordance with international standards, every bit of data obtained from exploration and mining will be reported

Why are we capable of financing only 2 or 3 percent of mining sector?

Financial Organizations demand reporting in international standards. Our firms are mostly incapable of doing this or have to buy these reports from other countries. Therefore, with UMREK, we will help grow the mining sector and remove all obstacles by providing a national reporting system in accordance with international standards demanded by international finance organizations and enhance the credibility of the sector, financial capacity, international certification and encouraging investments.

With the Core Data Bank, We are now archiving all the drilling samples and results throughout Turkey. Therefore, before doing any drilling, engineers will have data on the location obtained from previous drilling. Precious minerals, rare earth elements, etc. We have initiated exploration, evaluation, reporting, enrichment and refinery processes in Turkey. We are importing minerals of approximately 10 billion dollars. From the economic aspect, we are now making a major transition process in Turkey with these strategies.

Albayrak: Imagine that we have become an energy exporting country. What benefits will Turkey derive from pipelines?

We are now assessing all colloboration around concerning pipelines. We are the biggest energy importing country in the region. During the last decade, Our import, including mining sector, has been 500 billion dollars. As such a heavily dependent country on import, I believe that we will have become an energy exporting country in the next 10 years. To achieve this, you don't have to possess sufficient natural resources. There are countries that don't have vast natural energy reserves. Look at Korea, Japan, Germany and Italy. These countries don't have vast natural resources. But they have large energy companies and we must provide the appropriate conditions.

You also draw attention to natural resources in coal. Do we have such big reserves in high quality?

Recently, we have always been asked about Afşin-Elbistan cosal reserves. In Afşin-Elbistan,  we have 3-4 billion ton reserves of 1100 calories. It used to be great importance. Nowadays, we have found great coal reserves and they vary in calory from 2000 up to 3500, and we are still finding. Do you know why? We have stepped up exploration activities with MTA and MIGEM.  In 2002, MTA drilled approximately 30 000 meters. Later on, in AK Party period, our ministers have increased this up to 300 000 meters. Now we have a target of 1 million meters. Their bidding have been completed. In the next few years, we will increase this number with the cooperation of public and private bodies, up to 5-6 million meters. The most developed countries, from the minig aspect in the world, are Australia and Canada. These countries are pioneers and do 6-10 million drilling a year. You need to know what wealth you have above surface and underground, and drilling enables this.