Kaltun Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS was established in 1962
and covers 16 businesses, which together make up the Kaltun
Group. Ten of them are involved in the production and trade of
industrial raw materials, while the others focus on
agriculture, shipping and energy.
|Kaltun mines all of its raw materials
from its own mines in southwest Turkey (Source: Kaltun
Through its mining arm, the company is one the
world’s largest miners of feldspar. It produces
around 2m tpa of Turkey’s total feldspar output,
which in 2014 stood at 5m tonnes, according to the US
Geological Survey (USGS), while total world production reached
It also produces around 150,000 tpa quartz and is the
largest producer of ground and graded quartz in Turkey, in
addition to 500 tpa mica from its Turkish mines, with most of
its mica going into the paint industry.
Kaltun Mining conducts open pit mining at its own deposits
in Turkey, with mines located in the Cine-Milas-Yatagan region
– a richly mineralised area in the southwest of the
country. As well as its Turkish business, Kaltun has four
foreign companies based in Italy, Spain, Egypt (where it has
further feldspar deposits) and the Netherlands.
|Kaltun feldspar mine
in Turkey (source: Kaltun Mining).
Kaltun’s minerals are primarily used to make
ceramics – unglazed porcelain tiles, floor and wall
tiles, glazes, sanitary ware and decorative porcelain
– and in glass – float glass, container
glass, table ware, crystal and some technical glass. Other
markets it serves include filtration and enamel
The majority – around 80% – of
Kaltun’s production is exported. In 2014, it
exported 1.279m tonnes-worth of its 1.514m tonnes sold and
expects sales to rise to over 2m tonnes by the end of this
Its biggest geographical markets are in Europe, led by Italy
and Spain, where it has milling and blending facilities to
serve local customers, but the company also sells its material
to more than 50 countries around the world, including the UAE,
Japan and the US.
"We see opportunities to expand our sales in Africa, Russia
and the Middle East," Fikret Bayraktar, mining sales and
marketing manager for Kaltun told IM. "The big
multinational producers are focusing on the Middle East and Far
East, which are also good markets for
Bayraktar notes, however, that there are
certain limitations, or conditions, to exporting
Kaltun’s products further afield. "We produce very
high quality material to overcome the freight cost deterrent
for importers in more distant markets. We sell some material to
the Far East, but again this has to be premium quality
products, because we cannot compete with Chinese costs for
standard grade material," he explains.
Kaltun is also expanding, in response to growing demand for
new and higher qualities of the mineral products from its
industrial customers, particularly feldspar. "We have just
finished [implementing] our new crushing system to cover our
output quantities, which increased dramatically from March 2015
at our Sarikisik plant," says Bayraktar.
"We have one plant under construction right now for
preparing materials before milling quartz. We also we have a
new project which will allow us to make different qualities of
feldspar to meet the new demands of industry. We have already
purchased the machines for this project and they are on their
way to us. We plan to finalise this new plant at the end of
2015 and launch our new product in first quarter of 2016."
As one of Turkey’s most significant industrial
mineral producers, Kaltun is keen to see the
country’s government legislate favourably towards
mining. With the country’s second general election
this year due to take place in November, the company hopes that
any change in the balance of government will make it easier to
get mining licences.
"Some companies have been waiting for over a year and a half
to get permission for new projects," Bayraktar says.
In February 2015, several modifications to
Turkey’s main mining law were announced by the
country’s government. Among the amendments were
measures to enforce the turnover of licences and prevent land
being under-exploited due to inactive rights holders; auctions
of mineral rights and efforts to better define licence areas
according to mineralisation; and a new royalty framework, which
sets taxes according to mineral prices.
Bayraktar is not however convinced that the changes will
make things easier for mining companies in Turkey to run their
businesses. "The main difficulty that the companies will face
with the new mining law is that time, charges and environmental
fees to be paid for the period of study [on mineral deposits]
is much higher than the expected rates," he said.
"In addition to this, although not yet certain –
this will become clearer with the new regulation – the
number of mining engineers [required] to be employed as
technical supervisors at sites is going to be another burden.
Previously, one mining engineer could be responsible for five
mining sites, but with the new law, according to the draft
regulation, this number is limited to be three sites if the
sites are next to each other. If the sites are in different
areas, then the technical supervisor will be responsible of
only one site. This will obviously lead to a big increase in
Kaltun’s main concern, however, rather than the
new mining law, is obtaining forestry permits. "The permits
which previously were given by the Ministry of Forestry and
Water Affairs are now given only with the permission of Prime
Ministry [as per the July 2012 circular (2012/15)]. This
has caused companies come to a standstill. We think that,
consequently in the near future, many mining companies will end
up stopping their activities altogether, purely because of this
difficulty," Bayraktar says.
Notwithstanding the challenging and uncertain regulatory
climate in which it operates, Kaltun is generally positive
about consumption of raw materials in its main markets of
ceramics, glass, engineered stone and coatings. "We expect some
growth, especially in glass and coatings sectors," Says
Bayraktar. "Because Kaltun is a very new actor in these
markets, especially in the coatings ındustry, there are
still some opportunities for us to grow. We are planning to
expand in the ceramic tile industry by reaching alternative
markets. We are still studying the logistical solutions for
reaching these markets and we are sure that we will be able to
start shipments to these areas at the start of 2016."
As far as pricing and demand for its minerals go, Kaltun is
realistic about the market’s chief influences and
driving forces, but believes that change is in store in the
foreseeable future. Chinese competition sets the rules for
prices and competition in the global mining industry, and
Turkey is no exception, yet this is undergoing a shift
according to Bayraktar. "In 10 years from now, China will be a
major market, as will India. Then, we will all be working for
China and India to produce goods for these countries, rather
than them selling us their raw materials".
Kaltun is also unconcerned about many of the issues worrying
its peers, such as the availability of skilled labour, rising
costs and growing Chinese competition. "We do not worry about
these kinds of things," says Bayraktar. "We always took the
necessary steps when it was necessary to do so, and we will do
the same again if or when they become necessary again."
Kaltun’s mining history
Turkey’s first feldspar mine was established by
Mehmet Tuncer, one of the Kaltun’s founding
partners, in 1962. In Turkey, feldspar had previously been used
only as molding sand, but following Kaltun’s
establishment commercial feldspar production, the mineral began
to be used as a ceramic raw material in Canakkale Ceramic
Factories. The company was also instrumental in introducing
feldspar to Turkey’s glass industry.
Today, the group mainly deals with the production and
trading of industrial raw materials with 19 production units
functioning to produce sodium feldspar, potassium feldspar,
quartz and mica to be used by the manufacturers of ceramics,
glass, composite stone, porcelain, coatings and many other
Kaltun Mining accounts for approximately 35% of Turkish
exports of sodium feldspar.
Turkey is the largest feldspar supplier country in the
world. According to the USGS, the company produced 5m tonnes of
the mineral in 2014, followed by Italy, which produced 4.7m
tonnes. Total world production last year stood at 21.5m
Quarries supplying a range of sodium, potassium, calcium
feldspars are mainly located in the western part of Turkey, in
the southern part of the Menderes Massif, or the Cine
According to Turkish estimates, the country’s
feldspar reserves are estimated to be around 400-450m tonnes.
At the current rate of production, the Menderes Massif could
supply feldspar for more than 100 years.
The deposits of greatest economic interest are located in
the areas around Cine and Milas in the Menderes Massif.
According to the USGS, 33% of all the feldspar imported into
the US is sourced from Turkey, second only to Mexico, which
supplies 50% of US demand.