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Bishkek Says New Mining Deal Would Raise State Revenue

Protesters outside of the Centerra mine in May (file photo)
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz government has approved a memorandum that outlines a lucrative new deal with Canada's Centerra Gold on operating the nation's largest gold mine.

Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev told journalists in Bishkek on September 10 that the memorandum has been sent to parliament for approval.

If the document is approved, a new joint venture would be created to increase the shares owned by the Kyrgyz government from 33 percent to 50 percent. Satybaldiev said it would increase Kyrgyz government revenue by 80 percent.

The current deal with Centerra, signed in 2009, grants the company a low tax rate that officials now say deprives Kyrgyzstan's budget of many millions of dollars.

Earlier this summer, a state of emergency was introduced in the district after thousands of protesters clashed with police near the mine, demanding its nationalization.