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Centerra to Look for Acquisitions After Kumtor Resolution

Centerra Gold Inc. plans to acquire another gold project once Kyrgyzstan has completed its acquisition of a stake in the Canadian company’s Kumtor mine.

Centerra will consider development projects and mines that are already in production, Chief Executive Officer Ian Atkinson said today in an interview in Denver, where he’s attending the Denver Gold Forum. The Toronto-based company would like to add about 100,000 ounces or more of output from a new mine, he said.

“In this current market and gold prices, we’ve still got a reasonable margin and we are building up cash,” Atkinson said. “There are some other opportunities out there that we’d like to pursue.”

Centerra said Sept. 9 it agreed to discuss a proposed swap in which would give the Central Asian country a 50 percent stake in Kumtor in exchange for the 33 percent stake in the company owned by state-controlled Kyrgyzaltyn JSC. Centerra would continue to operate and manage the mine after such a deal.

Centerra has been negotiating with the Kyrgyz government to address concerns raised in a report by a state commission regarding taxes and ownership issues connected with Kumtor. If the agreement on the government’s stake in Kumtor is formalized, all Kyrgyz state agency environmental claims against the mine would be resolved.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiye will seek authorization from parliament to extend a deadline for the negotiations, Atkinson said today. The company has been advised he will seek an extension until the end of the year, the CEO said.

The deal would need approval by the Kyrgyz parliament, Centerra’s board and its minority shareholders.

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