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Kyrgyz Government Meets As Gold Mine Blocked

An opposition rally in Bishkek to demand the nationalization of the Kumtor gold mine.
The Kyrgyz cabinet has met in emergency session after protesters blocked operations at the country's biggest gold mine.

After several days of protests, hundreds of protesters on May 30 entered a power transformer unit and cut electricity to the Kumtor mine operated by Canada's Centerra Gold Company.

AFP reports the power outage to the mine also impacted several nearby villages. Protesters were also blocking a key access road.

Protesters are demanding the mine be nationalized, blaming Centerra for environmental damage and for paying little taxes to help fund social services, like schools.

Following the cabinet meeting, the government issued a statement urging the protesters to "support stability" in order to lure investment that will create jobs.

The Kumtor mine accounts for about 12 percent of the Kyrgyz economy.

In a statement, Centerra Gold warned its gold production and "financial results" would be negatively impacted if power and road access were not restored soon.

Based on AP, AFP, and Interfax reporting