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Kyrgyzstan Seeks Transparent Centerra Gold Mine Talks

Kyrgyzstan will renegotiate a 2009 project agreement with Canada’s Centerra Gold Inc. for its Kumtor mine in an open and transparent manner, said Economy Minister Temir Sariev.

“The government’s standpoint of view is, ‘let’s work on it with accordance with the law,’” Sariev said yesterday in an interview in Hong Kong through a translator. “Nobody is talking about closure of the mining site or stopping the operation.”

Centerra’s shares have dropped 33 percent in Toronto this year after the Kyrgyz parliament resolved that the project agreements for Kumtor should be renegotiated. The company has operated the mine, 33 percent held by the government, since 1997, according to a presentation on its website.

Centerra is in “constructive dialogue” with the nation, John Pearson, vice president of investor relations, said yesterday in Hong Kong.

The company also said last month it had received a claim for about $315 million from the Kyrgyz State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry for alleged environmental damages at the project. The mine is expected to produce 600,000 ounces of gold this year, according to the company.

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