Guzelyurt (Omorfo/Morphou), North Cyprus
North Cyprus  


View from inside of CMC
Photo by: Nezaket Dertsiz

Town of Lefke has benefited from the mining company up until 1960 and improved its life standard such that Lefke considered one of most desirable town to live in.

But unfortunately the production has been dropped between 1960-1975. In this period of time many employees had to leave the country due to the lack of employment.

At this point it is necessary to analyse the background of CMC which will provide required knowledge for us to know why many people had to leave the country.

1912 the mining engineer from the US, called Charles Godfrey Gunther travelled to Middle East to make a mining research. In the mean time he went to Cyprus. During his research around Lefke he discovered big amount of copper-ore and sulfides on Foucassa hill.

Philip Wiseman and Seeley Wintersmith Mudd, who were the owner of the mining cooperations in US have been informed by Gunther that there could be copper- ore in Cyprus. Afterwords they started operating the copper mine on Foucassa hill. At this stage some drilling machines and experts have been brought from US. They also obtained a permission from the British Government and employed local people both from Greek and Turkish communities to operate the mining cooperation.

Since 1914 the First World War broke out between Turkey and some European countries CMC had gone through many difficulties. In 1914 Britain took the island over from Turkey on a rent bases and claimed for being the owner. In 1915 the Prime Minister of England Lloyd George asked Greece to fight with them against Turkey in return of taking Cyprus from England. But Greeks refused this offer from English.

All these developments made a positive effect on mining cooperation. In 1960s the required mining tunnels and railway which leads to Xeros from Foucassa have been completed in order to explore the mine. For the first time in 1916 CMC had adopted New York province legislation to Cyprus and officially employed 350 workers for the purpose. 

View from outside the CMC site
Photo by: Nezaket Dertsiz

In 1919 Seeley Wintersmith Mudd’s son Harwey Mudd also came to Cyprus to make his own investigations. Leaving Cyprus with constructive ideas Mudd went to Europe and started searching for a market. At the same time Cooper ore that explored accumulated near by Pendaya village.

Apart from this CMC made some research in the Southwest of Lefke, called Karadag where they got good result.

In 1921 cooper ore explored and exported by CMC from Gemikonagi harbour which was built with an idea of exporting Lemon products.

One of the most difficulties that CMC was facing with, that the two communities had to celebrate their national and religion days were different from one another. As a result of this it was a lost for the company in production.

In 1922 in the area of Focussa a place called Skuriotissa many houses have been built for mining workers, which later attracted a high population to the mining area.

In 1923 the studies for mining research have been intensified in the area of Karadag.

In 1924, For CMC in order to export its ore product a harbour was being built in the west of Pendaya. In the same year many Russians came to Cyprus when the revolution took place in Russia. Among those Russians were doctors, engineers and technicians. CMC grabbed the opportunity and employed those Russians in different positions.

Later on CMC made a great afford to meet the medical needs of increased working people because of an illness which was diagnosed as malaria , started building a hospital in Pendaya. CMC also planted many eucalyptus in swamps for protection from malaria.

In 1924 the number of the mining houses have been increasing in the area of Skuriotissa and a canteen was built to meet the needs of workers. Later on the same right of operating a canteen was given to some Turks in Lefke. The idea was based on that the mining workers would be able to do there shopping in those canteens either in cash or on credit. By doing this CMC would be able to pay the salaries to employees through the operator of canteen. Thus, until the pay day the workers what be able to shop and what ever money was left after having paid for their shopping what be paid back to them.

As CMC developed this system would be able to by of the properties from the owners at a fairly low price in return of giving them the first privileges of operating the canteen. Although in 1925-1926 many workers went on strike against the present system that CMC was leading but nevertheless the mentioned system continued until 1939.

In 1926 a new harbour on the factory were built. Apart from that a village was being built for workers between Pendaya and Gemikonagi.

Specially after 1926 was observed that CMC employed many more workers and improved its capacity. Since then Lefke area has been attracting many people various part of Cyprus specially from Paphos.

In 1928 a second village was being built for mining workers in the area of Karadag. Moreover, CMC was giving the right of operating the canteens to people who were originally from Lefke in return of buying some lands from the people.

During this years CMC was facing big problems. One of this problems such as Malaria which was all over and many workers were suffering from this illness. The second problem was when the harvest season when people had to live their jobs for harvesting. Therefore the workers had not been able to make a choice yet between the mining and agricultural involvement. Later on it was revealed that mining sector was much more profitable than the agricultural sector, which most of the workers decided to work in mining rather than in agricultural sector. As an example; people who were engaged with agricultural in Baglikoy transferred there profession to the mining sector. It is for these reason that the vine-gardens died down it is also the same reason which stopped the people from improving the condition of there orange gardens.

In 1930 a power plant which was being built near by Xeros, has been expanded. The number of the power workers have been increased from 2595 to 5720, until1937.

In 1936 the dense of the population was high in Xero and Karadag but in Lefke it was highest. At that time even the basement of houses were renting to the workers. In the region some health problems occurred. In accordance of population explosion. In the same years an illness called Menengitis occurred.

Due to the high increased population some serious illnesses existing among the people which was threatening the health. Therefore CMC proposed the program which would implement to solve the social problems. As an example; CMC built seven elementary school to educate children. A hospital was also being built in Pendaya to solve health care. CMC was also providing some nourishment for children schools either free or for a very little money.

In 1939-1945 when the second world war broke out CMC, partially cut down its activities, and laid-off money workers. Later on CMC provided two pounds for each worker so the workers world hang around the job. CMC was also renting some agricultural land and using their workers for cultivation.

In 1942 422 worker house, and a little later on some other worker houses in Karadag and Xero have been used by the English troops as a resting camp in the mean time many Greek soldiers came to stay in these houses as a quest.

In 1946 after the second world war had finished they started operating Karadag mine. At that time many workers have been reemployed to their job. Unfortunately in 1948 AKEL communist party organized the workers for a strike which took nine months to end a strike. After the war CMC started operating the mine and repaired the workers houses. In 1953 CMC a large hospital in Pendaya and provided more medical services to the local people, CMC also supported the football clubs in the area.

In 1957 CMC built the Lefke technical school by spending 50.000 English pounds . In 1956-1958. The Greek Cypriots rebelled against the British regime for establishing ENOSIS in the island. Since this was known by CMC, it was an obvious thing that the Greeks and Turks could not work together in the mining. So therefore CMC provided Karadag mining for Turkish workers, where as in Foucassa only the Greek workers would be employed. In the same years the Greek community in Lefke was unwanted by the Turkish community which cause Greek Cypriots leaving Lefke. Since than the heterogenic structure of population left its place for a homogenic structure which represented by Turkish Cypriots. In 1960 Cyprus has gained its independency and the country ruled by republic. Since that date both Greek and Turks started working together. After the republic establish CMC started pain a certain amount of many as a tax too the government of Cyprus which would contribute to the budget of the country. In 1963 when the political conflict took place in between the two communities CMC could not be able to function its operation properly. This situation continued on until 1974, when the two communities separated from one another CMC decided to close the Pant down. The political unrest which started in 1960’s caused a separation between the Turkish and Greek workers, which naturally had a negative effect on CMC. Specially in 1963 when the fight started between the two communities Greek Cypriots took over the whole government over by claiming that they Are the only government of the island. Afterwards, CMC has been under the pressure by the Greeks. Since than only Karadag mine happened to be in the boundaries of Lefke which Turkish workers reemployed again, whereas in the other places called Focussa and Xero, the Greek workers were reemployed. In 1970 the copper ore was nearly finished in Karadag. For this reason almost all the Turkish mining workers got laid-off.

As a result of systematic implication of the Greek Cypriots’ economical ressure; has altered the social, economical and democratic structure of Lefke. In July 1974 Cyprus Peace keeping operation took place which Northern part of Cyprus has been ruled by the Turkish Federated state, Karadag mining deposit remained in Turkish district in Xero a power plant and the harbour also remained in Turkish district. On the country side Focussa remained under the Greek rule.

As a consequence CMC could not be able to sustain its productivity being in between two different poles. Since CMC had no other alternatives ended up by closing it down. Naturally this was followed by the high unemployment and immigration to other countries. 

CMC - Present Situation  

This mirror site of Lefke Town website, is prepared by Eda Kandulu