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The Çayeli mine is an underground copper and zinc operation located on the Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey and operated by Çayeli Bakir Isletmeleri A.S., a wholly-owned subsidiary. The mine produces copper concentrate, copper and zinc bulk concentrate and zinc concentrate.

Çayeli is the largest underground base metals mine in Turkey. It produced its first concentrate in 1994 and is expected to operate until at least 2019. Çayeli is an example of mining and metallurgical experience translating to achieving throughput that exceeds design capacity, as Çayeli’s initial design mill capacity of 600,000 tonnes per year has grown to 1,200,000 tonnes per year.

Mining and Processing

Çayeli’s mine design is based on underground bulk mining methods with the use of delayed backfill to extract ore in a sequential manner. The primary mining method is retreat transverse and longitudinal long hole stoping with paste fill and loose or consolidated waste rock backfill. The stopes are mined in primary, secondary and tertiary sequencing.

Ore processing includes three stages of crushing primary and secondary ball mill grinding, conventional flotation using either standard or column cells, and water removal by thickening and pressure filtering to produce copper and zinc concentrates.

2013 Facts and Stats:

  • Copper produced (tonnes): 31,510
  • Zinc produced (tonnes): 43,097
  • Average grade: 3.1% copper, 3.6% zinc
  • Type of mine: underground
  • Current estimated mine life: 2019
  • Employees: 493


Production in 2014 is expected to be between 27,000 and 29,000 tonnes of copper and between 38,000 and 42,000 tonnes of zinc. Throughput is expected to remain at 2013 levels but grades are expected to decline slightly as more low-grade ore from the footwall areas is mined.