Turkey's most important minerals are chromite, bauxite, and copper. The country also exploits deposits of other minerals such as iron, manganese, lead, zinc, antimony, asbestos, pyrites, sulfur, mercury, and manganese. Mining contributed slightly under 2 percent of GDP in 1992, but the subsector provides the raw material for such key manufacturing industries as iron and steel, aluminum, cement, and fertilizers. Turkey exports a variety of minerals, the most important of which are blister copper, chrome, and boron products. Minerals accounted for an average of about 2 percent of export earnings in the mid-1990s. The public sector dominates mining, accounting for about 75 percent of sales. Etibank, set up in 1935 to develop Turkey's natural resources, manages most of the state's mineral interests, particularly bauxite, boron minerals, chromite, and copper.
Private-sector mining enterprises are generally small, concentrating on lead, zinc, and marble; some operate intermittently depending on market conditions. A 1978 law nationalized all private holdings, but it was only partially implemented before being invalidated by the Constitutional Court. In 1980 the government began to encourage foreign investment, and in 1983 and 1985 mining laws were revised to provide incentives for private investment. Etibank sought to encourage joint ventures with private firms in Turkey and foreign investors. Although some partnerships were struck, mainly for copper production, foreign and private investors in 1995 continued to hesitate to make major investments.
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