Fact Check: Bulgaria Does NOT Have Tons Of Mined Gold Exported While Bulgarians Live In Poverty

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  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: Bulgaria Does NOT Have Tons Of Mined Gold Exported While Bulgarians Live In Poverty Gold Is Shared

Are Bulgaria's gold deposits some of the largest in the world, exploited by foreign firms at the expense of Bulgarian citizens? No, that's not true: Although gold has been mined since ancient times, Bulgaria is a minor player in gold mining globally. According to the World Gold Council, Bulgaria was the 52nd largest producer of gold in the world.

The claim appeared in a TikTok video (archived here) published on June 11,2023 with a caption reading:

Bulgaria's gold and the robbery of the century!!! How long will you trust the corrupt Bulgarian politicians?

The video featured an excerpt from YouTube channel "Tsanov FORWARD and UPWARD" which opened with Bulgarian journalist Stanislav Tsanov saying:

Our gold should not be wasted! From 2003 to 2022, Bulgaria has lost over 60 billion dollars. Political power changes, but this matter is untouchable. Stanishev, Boyko, Oresharski, Petkov - no one dares to return the gold mining to Bulgaria. Long ago it was handed over to foreign, private, corporate hands. Right here, in Bulgaria, are some of the largest gold deposits in the entire world. According to experts, there are over 60 gold deposits on the territory of Bulgaria.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-06-20 215415.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jun 20 18:47:49 2023 UTC)

The claims that Bulgaria's gold resources are exploited by outsiders who leave Bulgarians in poverty аre widely spread by local websites and social media. This idea has often been used to create public anger against foreign companies and investors. However, there is no factual or evidential basis in support of this misconception.

According to the National Concession Register, four companies operate gold mines in Bulgaria. The Canadian-based "Dundee Precious Metals" operates two subsidiaries that mine gold in Chelopech and Krumovgrad. The Bulgarian companies Asarel Medet and Gorubso mine gold near Panagyurishte and Kardzhali. Mining concessions are typically awarded to bidders who then share royalties from the gold deposits recovered from a given concession.

Claims that €1.5 trillion worth of gold was mined in Chelopech and exported abroad in 2018 are false:

They exported gold from the village of Chelopech for over 1 trillion and 500 billion euros, and the people are poor. The European Union and the United States of America, Canada and Australia have been sponsored by Bulgaria for 25 years - this is shown by a secret report of our Ministry of Finance, according to which in 2018 gold worth more than 1 trillion and 150 billion Euro was exported from the gold mine in Chelopech.

Screenshot 2023-06-28 221624.png

(Source: Screenshot taken on Tue Jun 28 18:16:26 2023 UTC)

The Ministry of Finance's press office denied the existence of such a report in an email sent to Proveri.AFP on June 4, 2021.

According to data from the Ministry of Energy and Dundee Precious' annual reports, the total amount of gold mined in Chelopech from 2006 to 2020 is 48.12 tons, which is worth BGN 5.14 billion. This is much less than the €1.5 trillion that was allegedly exported. On June 7, 2021, the Ministry of Energy sent to Proveri.AFP detailed data on the total amount of gold obtained from gold ore since 2000 for all exploited gold deposits in Bulgaria. A total of 120.1 tons of gold were mined during this period with a total value of of BGN 11.7 billion.

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