Canada’s Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) can finally breathe easy again as the Kyrgyz Republic approved the 2016 mine plan for the Kumtor operation, the country’s biggest gold mine.
The approval, the Toronto-based firm said, means the mine now has all the necessary permits in place for continuous operations throughout the second half of 2016.
Last week, Kyrgyzstan’s authorities handed Centerra other two key permits the company had been waiting for to be able to keep Kumtor running until the end of the year.
The company and the Kyrgyz Republic have locked horns for months around the ownership structure of their co-owned Kumtor mine, the country’s largest private sector employer and taxpayer and Centerra’s main gold producing mine.
Centerra, which is the largest Western-based gold producer in Central Asia, has been actively diversifying away from Kumtor as the risks associated with the operation have proved a drag on the company’s market valuation.
The firm has been using the cash generated by Kumtor to develop projects in Mongolia, Turkey and Canada, with the goal of becoming a 1 million ounce per year producer over the next few years.
Kumtor has produced around 10 million ounces since inception and remaining reserves are 5.6 million ounces.