Kyrgyzstan announced the nationalization of the Kumtor gold mine | News from Germany on world events | Dw

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The Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan is no longer owned by the Canadian company Centerra Gold Inc. This was announced on Saturday, November 20, by the head of the Kyrgyz government Akylbek Zhaparov. “On Friday, November 19, Canadian time, after the completion of exchange trading, Centerra Gold Inc. decided to recognize that it no longer owns the national treasure of the Kyrgyz people – the Kumtor mine. Centerra Gold Inc. was forced to write off 926 million dollars and reflect the fact of loss of control over the Kumtor mine, – the press service of the government quotes Japarov as saying.

According to the Prime Minister, who is quoted by the Interfax news agency, in the event of the nationalization of the mine, “we are not talking about infringing on the interests of investors.” “From the very first day, the Kyrgyz government called on the management of Centerra Gold Inc. to recognize the enormous damage to the nature and economy of our country. The Cabinet of Ministers will continue to actively defend the rule of law and the national interests of the people of Kyrgyzstan,” Japarov added.

Centerra Gold talks about takeover of the mine

In an appeal to the Kyrgyz people, published by the Centerra Gold press service, the Canadian company announced the takeover of the mine based “on false information and unsubstantiated allegations.” “We fear that the government’s unjustified actions will jeopardize thousands of well-paid jobs and businesses of hundreds of Kyrgyz suppliers,” the document says.

The company recalled that since 1994 it has invested more than $ 3.4 billion in the development and operation of the mine in accordance with international environmental and safety standards. “Under our leadership, the Kumtor mine has become the largest private employer in the Kyrgyz Republic, the largest taxpayer, making a significant contribution to the Kyrgyz economy and important social programs,” the company stressed.

Largest alpine gold deposit in Central Asia

Kumtor is the largest alpine gold deposit in Central Asia. The mine is located in the Issyk-Kul region in the north of Kyrgyzstan, 60 km from the border with China at an altitude of more than 4 thousand meters, yielding in height only to the Yanacocha gold deposit in Peru.

Soviet geologists found gold in the Tien Shan mountains in 1978. But the development of the field was postponed due to the high cost of the project – 995.4 million Soviet rubles (about 1.46 billion dollars at that time). The general agreement on the Kumtorzoloto project was signed by the government of independent Kyrgyzstan and one of the world’s largest uranium producers, the Canadian company Cameco, in December 1992. Commercial gold production at the deposit began in 1997.

On May 17, 2021, the Kyrgyz parliament adopted a resolution on the introduction of temporary external management at the facility in connection with the “irresponsible actions” of Centerra Gold Inc. This parliamentary decision is based on the findings of a state commission and a law passed in early May that allows the government to outsource Kumtor in case of violation of environmental requirements. Moreover, a court in Bishkek ordered the Kumtor developer to pay the state $ 3 billion in compensation for illegal storage of industrial waste on the Davydov and Lysy glaciers.

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