TORONTO -- Centerra Gold Inc. reported a first-quarter profit of US$167.4 million as it faces trouble in the Kyrgyz Republic that may affect its ownership of the Kumtor mine.

The Canadian gold miner says the Kyrgyz Republic Parliament passed a law last week that would allow the government to impose "external management" on the project if Kumtor Gold Co. violates certain Kyrgyz laws.

Centerra also says Kumtor Gold Co. was ordered by a Kyrgyz Republic court last week to pay more than US$3 billion in damages after a ruling that its past practice of placing waste rock on glaciers was illegal.

In addition, the company says it has received further tax assessments from the Kyrgyz Republic State Tax Service which when, combined with previous tax claims, amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Centerra says it believes the actions are a concerted effort to coerce it to give up economic value or ownership of the Kumtor Mine or to falsely justify a nationalization of the mine. It says it is committed to trying to work with Kyrgyz Republic authorities, but that it will not hesitate to use all legal avenues to protect its rights and interests.

The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, says its profit for the quarter ended March 31 amounted to 57 cents per share on US$401.9 million in revenue compared with a profit of US$20 million or seven cents per share on US$378.8 million in revenue a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, Centerra says it earned 28 cents per share in its most recent quarter compared with an adjusted profit of 16 cents per share in the first three months of 2020.