SSR Mining shares plunge 61% after Turkish mine landslide

(Bloomberg) — Shares of precious metals producer SSR Mining Inc. plunged as much as 61% on Tuesday after the U.S. company suspended operations at its flagship gold mine in Turkey following a landslide, the second incident at the site in two years.

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SSR said it had suspended operations at the Çöpler mine in eastern Turkey after a “major slip” occurred on the mine’s heap leach pad – a pond where metals are extracted from ores – on Tuesday morning. According to a statement from Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, rescue teams were sent to the area and nine workers were missing.

SSR’s U.S. shares were briefly halted after the disclosure triggered a price drop. Shares fell 60% to $3.87 as of 1:19 p.m. in New York, their lowest intraday level since January 2016. More than half of SSR’s market value was wiped out, leaving the Denver-based company a Market cap of about $785 million has.

Turkish politicians criticized SSR after the mishap, citing the company’s previous problems at the site near the Euphrates, about 650 miles (1,046 kilometers) east of Istanbul. The latest incident comes nearly 20 months after a cyanide waste spill at the same site forced the company to suspend operations in June 2022.

“We had warned the government about the dangers of cyanide gold mining under the nose of the Euphrates, but our warnings were not heeded,” said Meral Aksener, leader of the Turkish opposition party IYI, in a post on X.

Turkish authorities have launched judicial and administrative investigations and the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party, has sent a delegation to the region to monitor the situation.

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Çöpler is SSR’s second largest producing gold mine, with production of 56,768 ounces in the third quarter of last year. The plant has been operational since 2010 and currently produces ore in two plants.

SSR cut short its Tuesday conference call with analysts to discuss 2024 guidance, with Chief Executive Rodney Antal citing the incident.

“We’re looking into this intensively right now and it’s still very early so we can’t give much more details,” Antal said before asking the operator to end the call.

(Updates shares. An earlier version corrected mine production in the seventh paragraph.)

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Amanda Walker

Global events enthusiast. Reporting with a critical lens to offer readers a deeper perspective.

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