Centerra Gold says Kumtor returning to normal

Tough environment

An official from Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) said on Saturday operations at the Canadian company’s mine in Kyrgyzstan is starting to return to normal following violent protests that led to the declaration of a state of emergency.

Around 2,000 people, some on horseback, stormed the Kumtor mine on Thursday night after clashes between riot police and protesters demanding the mine’s nationalization.

RIA Novosti reports company vice president Rodney Stuparyk said the road to the mine has been reopened and power – cut by protesters earlier in the week – has been restored.

The latests protests is the sixth time over the last few years that operations have been disrupted at the high-altitude mine that accounts for the bulk of the ex-Soviet republic’s industrial output and is by far the largest taxpayer in the country.

The Kyrgyzstan parliament has set June 1 as a deadline for the government to renegotiate the deal struck with the Toronto-based company in 2009.

Kumtor and lawmakers are keen to increase the country’s shareholding, portion of profits and tighten environmental protections at the mine.

Kyrgyzstan has fined Centerra $467 million for alleged environmental damage at the mine.

Centerra, which has been mining Kumtor since 1997 expects Kumtor to generate 550,000 to 600,000 ounces of gold this year.

On Friday Centerra fell 8% to $3.82 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock with a market value of just over $900 million is down nearly 60% this year alone. The share peaked in 2011 at more than $22 per share.

In pictures: Kyrgyzstan gold mine protests by BBC News

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