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Kyrgyz Reconciliation Commission Created To Debate Gold Mine

A worker walks inside a gold processing plant at the Kumtor gold mine in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz lawmakers have established a reconciliation commission to debate a deal with Canada's Centerra Gold to exploit the country's largest gold mine, Kumtor.

Representatives of all factions in parliament have been included in the commission, which was established on February 5.

Parliament has been debating the deal for months.

The original deal, signed in 2003, gave Toronto-based Centerra Gold a 100-percent interest in the Kumtor project and state-owned Kyrgyzaltyn a 16-percent stake in the publicly traded company.

The deal was renegotiated in 2009, giving Kyrgyzaltyn just under a 33-percent stake.

The government now reportedly hopes to raise the Kyrgyz stake to 67 percent.

The Canadian investors have signaled that they would like to maintain at least a 50 percent share in the proposed new joint venture that would own and operate the mine.

Opposition parties and local residents staged protests near Kumtor last year, demanding the mine's nationalization.

CORRECTION: This story has been amended from its original version to correct details of the 2003 and 2009 deals and relationships between the companies involved. We regret the errors.