29 Dec 2023 16:43

Over 50 tonnes of Kumtor gold being stored in Kyrgyzstan - presidential press service

BISHKEK. Dec 29 (Interfax) - Over 50 tonnes of gold mined in Kumtor has been accumulated in Kyrgyzstan, and the development of another two areas with over 100-tonne reserves is pending, Kyrgyz presidential spokesman Daiyrbek Orunbekov said.

"As of now, Kyrgyzstan has over 50 tonnes of gold from the Kumtor deposit," Orunbekov said on social media.

Kyrgyzstan earned $698.6 million in 2022-2023 since the mine was placed under state management, he said.

"Some 410 tonnes of gold were mined over 28 years of Kumtor's operation under foreign management, but not a single gram of it went to the state. All Kyrgyzstan got was $100 million in dividends. Revenue reached $698.6 million after the state took control of Kumtor," Orunbekov said.

New areas of Kumtor, such as Jangart and Togolok, will be developed in the coming years, and tailings containing over 100 tonnes of gold will be processed, the presidential administration said.

Kumtor is one of the major gold deposits in Central Asia. It is located over 4,000 meters above sea level in the Issyk-Kul region in northern Kyrgyzstan, 60 kilometers from the Chinese border.

Kumtor used to be one of the largest foreign investment projects in Kyrgyzstan. Canada's Centerra Gold Inc. owned the mine and operated it via a subsidiary, Kumtor Gold Company, under an agreement signed with the Kyrgyz government in 2009.

Kyrgyzstan took control of the mine in May 2021, citing environmental concerns and tax claims as the reason. Centerra initiated an international arbitration procedure to challenge the Kyrgyz government's decision, and Kumtor Gold Company filed for bankruptcy. Later on, an amicable agreement with the government was signed, and Centerra dropped all of its claims against Kyrgyzstan and stopped its legal action.

The mine is now under government control.

The Kyrgyz government ended the temporary external management of Kumtor Gold Company, where National Holding Company Heritage of the Great Nomads acted as a temporary external manager, in February 2023. A decision was made to liquidate the management company. The government press service said that Kumtor will be managed by the state-owned Kyrgyzaltyn.

The mine annually produced 15-17 tonnes of gold before 2021.