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Kyrgyz Protesters Demand Revision Of Gold-Mining Contract

Kumtor gold mine
Kumtor gold mine
BISHKEK -- Dozens of protesters gathered in Bishkek today to demand the revision of an agreement on the foreign-run Kumtor gold mine in northeastern Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Protester Jekshenbek Shamyraliev told RFE/RL the demonstrators want a guarantee that part of the revenue from the mine will be used to improve infrastructure in the region.

He said the government should write such a guarantee into its agreement with Canada's Centerra Gold Corporation, the operator of the Kumtor mine, south of the Issyk-Kul resort lake.

The protesters also insisted that data on the amount of gold that is extracted and the revenue from the mine should be made public.

Shamyraliev said the protesters first submitted their demands to the government in December, but nothing has been done. He said if the government does not meet the protesters' demands the protesters will organize nationwide demonstrations.

Kyrgyz parliament speaker Akhmatbek Keldibekov said this week that there are no grounds for revising the agreement between the government and Centerra about mining operations at Kumtor.

The Kumtor mine is a joint venture between Centerra, private investors, and the Kyrgyz government, which owns a 33 percent stake.

Read more in Kyrgyz here