CALGARY - The Kyrgyz Republic says it is taking control of the Kumtor gold mine for three months effective immediately in view of the “abdication of its fundamental duties of care” by Canadian owner and operator Centerra Gold Inc.
In a news release, the government says it sent a letter to Centerra on Sunday to request clarification of reports that it had suspended deliveries of materials needed to operate the mine and had disabled “critical sensors” used to monitor the stability of the mine and the movement of nearby glaciers.
It says there was no response to the letter and it then learned that Kumtor mine managers had left the country. It says Tengiz Bolturuk, an engineer and former mill foreman at Kumtor, has been appointed as general manager.
The release confirms a report by Centerra on Monday that the Kyrgyz Republic was moving to install external management after “effectively seizing control”' of the mining operation over the weekend.
In support, Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and Mary Ng, minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, issued a joint statement Monday indicating Canada is “very concerned” about the situation.
On a conference call with analysts early Tuesday, Centerra CEO Scott Perry said Centerra is no longer in control of the gold mine and can no longer ensure the safety of the mine's employees or operations.