Centerra Threatens to Shut Kyrgyz Mine Without Permits

Centerra Gold Inc. threatened to halt its biggest operation, the Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, if it doesn’t receive government approvals and permits for its 2014 mine plan.

The company will shut all mine and mill operations by the end of June 13 in the absence of the approvals, Toronto-based Centerra said today in a statement.

Centerra dropped 20 percent to C$3.70 at the close in Toronto, the biggest decline since Oct. 23, 2013. The shares have slumped 14 percent this year.

Centerra has been negotiating to swap the government’s stake in the company for a direct interest in Kumtor. A non-binding agreement last year was rejected by the Kyrgyz parliament following public opposition. A new accord was signed in December and approved this year by parliament, opening the way for more detailed talks.

The gold mine employed more than 2,776 workers as of 2012, 95 percent of whom were Krygyz nationals, the company said on its website.