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Canada's Centerra Gold threatens to close Kyrgystan mine

03 june 2014, 12:32
©Reuters/Vladimir Piragov
©Reuters/Vladimir Piragov

Canada's Centerra Gold on Monday threatened to close its mine in Kyrgyzstan unless its receives long-awaited government approvals for its annual mine plan and related operating permits by June 13, AFP reports.

The company has been in discussions with officials since late last year about greenlighting its proposals for 2014 operations at the Kumtor mine, located at the foot of glaciers high in the Tien Shan mountains.

"The continuing absence of such approval and permits creates significant uncertainty and risks for Centerra and its employees," the company said.

The mine is Kyrgyzstan's biggest employer and taxpayer, according to Centerra.

Shuttering the mine for a significant period would also slash Centerra's earnings. The closure warning sent Centerra's stock price plummeting 19 percent in Toronto to Can$3.75 (US$3.44).

The mine opened in 1997 and produced 600,000 ounces of gold last year.

Its operation is "complex and and the Kumtor open pit is subject to significant geo-technical and other challenges, including in-flow of water, ice movement from the Davydov glacier toward the open pit and pit-wall instability," the company noted.

Centerra started constructing a barrier at the foot of the nearby glacier last year to block its advance.

In May, the Kyrgyzstan parliament passed a law that bans activities that impact glaciers, but it still requires a presidential signature.

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