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'Technical' Issues Debated In Kumtor Deal

The Kyrgyz government currently owns a 33-percent stake in the Kumtor gold mine. (file photo)
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz lawmakers are continuing discussions in an effort to tackle "technical" issues in a deal with Canada's Centerra Gold Company to exploit the country's largest gold mine, Kumtor.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev told journalists on January 10 that President Almazbek Atambaev had not formally urged the cabinet to cancel the deal.

Earlier this week, Atambaev said the draft agreement with Centerra outlined by the government last month "ignores Kyrgyzstan's national interests."

The original deal, signed in 2003, gave the Kyrgyz government a 17 percent stake in Kumtor, with Centerra receiving an 83 percent share.

The deal was renegotiated in 2009, giving the Kyrgyz government a 33-percent share.

The government hopes to raise the Kyrgyz ownership level to 67 percent.

Satybaldiev said negotiations with Centerra are under way but that the company will not agree on anything less than a 50 percent share.