22 Feb 2023 13:53

Kyrgyzstan passing management of Kumtor gold mine to Kyrgyzaltyn

BISHKEK. Feb 22 (Interfax) - Kyrgyzstan's government has decided to liquidate the Great Nomads Heritage holding, which had been managing the Kumtor gold mine.

"By order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, the procedure for temporary external management of the Kumtor Gold Company by the Great Nomads Heritage national holding is terminated. The further activity of the holding is inadvisable," the government press service said in a statement.

As part of the decision, the Finance Ministry was instructed to liquidate the holding and create a liquidation commission. The commission must liquidate the holding company within two months.

Kumtor will now be managed by the state-owned Kyrgyzaltyn, the cabinet press service told Interfax.

External management of the mine was introduced in May 2021. At the time, Tengiz Bolturuk became the external manager of Kumtor. In February 2022, he was replaced by the Great Nomads Heritage national holding, established by the Kyrgyz government in December 2021.

Kumtor was one of the largest foreign investment projects in Kyrgyzstan. The mine was owned by the Canadian company Centerra Gold Inc., which operated it through its subsidiary Kumtor Gold Company under a 2009 agreement with the Canadian government.

In May 2021, Kyrgyzstan transferred the mine under its own control, citing environmental concerns and tax claims. Centerra initiated international arbitration to challenge the actions of the Kyrgyz government, and Kumtor Gold Company filed for bankruptcy. After signing a settlement agreement with Kyrgyzstan, Centerra renounced all claims against the republic and withdrew its claims.

The mine had been producing 15-17 tonnes of gold annually until 2021.

Kumtor is one of the largest gold mines in Central Asia, located in the Issyk-Kul region in the north of Kyrgyzstan, 60 km from the border with China at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters.