Kaz Minerals suspends operations at Kyrgyz

Bozimshak mine (Credit: Kaz Minerals)

Kaz Minerals (LSE: KAZ) has suspended production at its Bozymchak copper and gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, amid post-election unrest in the Central Asian nation.

Unidentified men destroyed facilities at another gold deposit in the former Soviet republic on Tuesday and local media reported attacks and protests at a few more mines, according to Reuters.

The central election commission of the country has declared the results of the weekend’s parliamentary election invalid after mass protests erupted in the capital Bishkek and other cities demanding the resignation of pro-Russian President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

Opposition supporters had seized government buildings overnight, freed the ex-president Almazbek Atambayev from jail and demanded a new election. Hundreds of people were hurt and one person died.

Bozymchak commenced production in the second half of 2014. In 2019, Kaz mined 1,081 kt of ore and processed 1 Mt at a copper grade of 0.82%, producing 7.3 kt of copper and 41 koz of gold. The mine is currently operating as an open pit with up to 1 Mt of ore extraction per year.

Bozymchak is expected to have an average annual output of 6 kt of copper cathode and 28 koz of gold bar over the life of the mine. 

Kaz Minerals said in an email to MINING.com that it is monitoring the situation.

Kaz’s stock was down 1.4% on the LSE as of 4:05PM BST. The company has a $3.18 billion market capitalization.

Centerra Gold (TSX: CG) confirmed that operations at its Kumtor mine will continue uninterrupted despite the political unrest in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The mine is located in a remote mountainous location about 430 km by road to the southeast of the national capital Bishkek. Kumtor is one of the largest gold mines in Central Asia operated by a Western company, having produced more than 12.6 million ounces of gold between 1997 and the end of 2019.

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