Hundreds attack Aussie miner offices in Kyrgyzstan

A group of roughly 200 opponents to leaving Kyrgyzstan’s riches in foreign hands, attacked Friday the local office of Z-Explorer, a subsidiary of Australian Manas Resources (ASX:MSR).

Z-Explorer spokesperson, Jyldyz Akmatova, told Reuters an enraged crowd intercepted a bulldozer on its way to the firm’s Shambesai deposit, moving later to the miner’s office in a nearby town.

She added the mob proceeded to loot the place, trashing office equipment and burning documents.

The aggression comes after Manas Resources announced Monday that drilling at Shambesai was scheduled to begin later this quarter.

Violence against miners is nothing new to those operating or with exploration projects in Kyrgyzstan. For over a year, riots over ownership of the country's flagship venture, Centerra Gold’ (TSX:CG) Kumtor gold deposit have clouded mining companies plans in the Central Asian country.

Last month, the Canadian miner was finally able to reach a memorandum of understanding with Kyrgyz authorities, which could pave the way for joint ownership of Kumtor, and lead to the resolution of the long-standing dispute.

The Toronto-based firm is a significant employer and taxpayer in the country and a key contributor to the Kyrgyz economy, which is expected to grow strongly this year and in 2014, mainly thanks to growing gold output from Kumtor, according to the International Monetary Fund’s latest report.

Image: Kyrgyzstan’s national hero “Manas” by neiljs