Currently viewing Global edition

Kumtor uninterrupted as Kyrgyz political tensions flare

Centerra Gold says operations at its cornerstone Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan continue uninterrupted in the wake of political unrest following the contested results of a weekend national election.
Kumtor uninterrupted as Kyrgyz political tensions flare Kumtor uninterrupted as Kyrgyz political tensions flare Kumtor uninterrupted as Kyrgyz political tensions flare Kumtor uninterrupted as Kyrgyz political tensions flare Kumtor uninterrupted as Kyrgyz political tensions flare

Centerra Gold says operations continue as normal at the Kumtor mine despite flaring political tension in Kyrgyzstan

In a fluid situation, the former Soviet state descended into political chaos after opposition parties disputed the election results, alleging widespread vote-buying and election fraud, according to several news agencies.

The opposition has seized power after storming government buildings, which followed mass demonstrations and an attempted crackdown on protesters by police.

Even Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission has declared the results of the weekend parliamentary election invalid. The decision was made to "avoid tension" in the country, said the commission.

Prime minister Kubatbek Boronov is reported to have resigned earlier on Tuesday.

Members of the Kyrgyz parliament at an emergency session on Tuesday voted to appoint Sadyr Zhaparov as the Kyrgyz prime minister, the Jogorku Kenesh press office told Interfax news agency. He was detained in 2017 for his part in organising demonstrations demanding nationalisation of Kumtor, about 430km southeast of the capital Bishkek. He was released by supporters, who on Tuesday stormed the prison compound where he was being held, Deutsche Welle reports.

Kyrgyzstan has a history of popular uprisings and political turmoil, after gaining its independence in the wake of the Soviet Union break up in 1991. Protesters had ousted two prior PMs in revolutions in 2005 and 2010. Following a decade of relative stability, citizens have raised concerns over rife corruption and authoritarian control by politically connected groups.

Centerra said it was monitoring the situation closely to ensure conditions remained safe to continue to transport people and supplies to the mine. "The company is taking all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its personnel and operations," it said Tuesday.

Kumtor produced about 600,000oz gold in 2019 at all-in sustaining costs of US$600/oz. The 2020 guidance is slightly lower at 520,000-560,000oz at higher AISC of $750-$800/oz while the company processes stockpiled material and the openpit transitions through lower-grade material in the second half of the year.

Shares in Centerra (TSX:CG) achieved a 12-month high in early August at C$19.59, but have since given back 28% of the gains, dropping 14% on Tuesday alone to $13.59. Centerra has a market capitalisation of $4 billion (US$3 billion).