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Centerra Gold searches for new CEO

The Öksüt mine is located in the Kayseri province of south-central Turkey. (Image courtesy of Centerra Gold.)

Canada’s Centerra Gold (TSX: CG) (NYSE: CGAU) said on Tuesday it had named director Paul Wright as interim president and chief executive to replace Scott Perry, without providing reasons for the sudden change at the top.

The company said Perry, who led Centerra for seven years, had also resigned as a director of the company and will not be nominated for election at its upcoming annual meeting by the end of September.

The move comes as the Toronto-based miner reported a net loss of $2.6 million in its latest quarter, compared to a net loss of $851.7 million in the second quarter of 2021.

The decrease in net loss was primarily due to the sale in April of its Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan for $972 million, a fraction of what it was once worth, to the country’s government.

The nation seized Kumtor in May 2021, alleging that Centerra committed both environmental infractions and tax fraud. The company denied the allegations and later sued former director Tengiz Bolturuk, accusing him of conspiring to steal the mine.

The loss of Kumtor hit the miner hard as it was its largest gold operation, accounting for more than half of Centerra’s gold production.

Between 1997 and 2020, Kumtor produced more than 13.2 million ounces of gold, with last year’s output slightly over 556,000 ounces.

Centerra was left with the Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia and Öksüt in Turkey, which had to be halted after mercury was detected in the production process earlier in the year.

The gold miner revised its 2022 production guidance in August to 255,000 ounces of gold from the previous 425,000 ounces.