Turkey’s mineral exports, with an increase of 24 percent in 2017, rose to 4.63 billion dollars. Mevlüt Kaya, Chairman of the Association of Aegean Mine Exporters, said that they expect the increase to continue with a higher acceleration in 2018. Kaya stated that natural stone exportation is an important effect of the removal of the quotas that China implements. Kaya underlined that İzmir Marble Fair, one of the three most important fairs in the sector of the world, grew even more this year.
Mr. Kaya, Turkey showed an upward trend in export growth this year. How do you evaluate the 2017 performance of the mining sector?
We are pleased to have exceeded our exports this year as Turkey. We have also had an increase of 24% in our own industry, which we had been working on with all our might, and we have exported 4.63 billion dollars. As of this year, almost half of this figure consisted of natural stone exports. It should be noted that the increase in natural stone exports is an important part of the Chinese government’s abolition of import quotas at the end of 2016. The workshops that took place with the participation of Berat Albayrak, the minister of Energy, in the past months in Antalya showed us that in terms of the 2023 goals, I’d say that our performance makes it possible for us to reach our target for our own industry.
What are your thoughts and expectations for the Marble 2018 fair to be held next month in Izmir?
The Turkish mine and natural stone sector comes to the forefront in the world with its variety and richness in reserves, abundance of raw materials, transportation convenience and sector experience. The Marble fair is one of the three largest fairs in the world as a reflection of our richness. There is a significant increase in the number of companies participating in the fair this year. I think this trend will be reflected in the connections that will take place.
What are your predictions for the sector for the year 2018?
In the past year, Turkish mine exporters have made contact with dozens of countries and firms from all over the world and expanded their export markets. I think we will collect the fruits of these works in 2018. The sector has a very good understanding of the importance of producing value added products which are low in quantity but high in quality and marketing them. When we consider the general situation of mining in the world, with our current performance, we are a sector that has the potential to catch up with and exceed the 2023 targets that the government has set. We have the raw material and we are creating our own technology. Therefore, I can say that our expectation for 2018 and onwards is very high, provided that we do not forget the possible outcomes of outside factors. We believe that we can easily surpass 2.5 billion dollars in natural stone.