Thursday, October 23, 2014


Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan Forms Working Group To Review Terms Of Gold-Mine Deal

A worker walks inside a gold-processing plant at the Kumtor gold mine in the Tien Shan Mountains.
A worker walks inside a gold-processing plant at the Kumtor gold mine in the Tien Shan Mountains.

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Kyrgyz Gold-Mine Debate Pits Poor Country Against Its Richest Taxpayer

Government officials in Kyrgyzstan are threatening to scrap an agreement with a Canadian-run gold mine they say is bilking the country out of millions in tax revenues. But with the Kumtor mine serving as one of the single-largest contributors to Kyrgyzstan's struggling economy, Bishkek must proceed cautiously -- or risk losing a vital cash cow.
By RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service
BISHKEK -- The government of Kyrgyzstan is forming a special working group to review the contract for its Canadian-owned Kumtor gold mine.

Bishkek said on February 1 the group will have one month to review the terms of the agreements with Kumtor, including a 2009 deal approved by then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

That deal granted the mine a low tax rate that officials say deprives the state budget of millions of dollars in revenue.

The Toronto-based mining giant Centerra Gold, which has operated the Kumtor mine since 1997, says any negotiations must take "existing legal obligations" into account.

Kyrgyz Justice Minister Almambet Shykmamatov says the mine will be profitable for decades and that the country is prepared to take the case to an international court to fight for a larger share of the profits.

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