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Kyrgyz Parliament OKs Road Map For Kumtor Gold Mine

A 2012 photo of operations at the Kumtor gold mine in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz lawmakers have approved a memorandum on the country's largest gold mine, Kumtor, to map out a new ownership structure with its foreign partner, Centerra Gold.

The document -- prepared by the parliament's reconciliation commission -- says that the Kyrgyz side and Canadian-registered Centerra should each control a 50 percent stake in a proposed new joint company to own and operate Kumtor, to be registered in Kyrgyzstan, until 2026.

After 2026, the Kyrgyz government would have the right to increase the stake under its control to 67 percent.

The government now must negotiate specifics of the deal with Centerra.

The original deal, signed in 2003, gave Kyrgyz state-owned Kyrgyzaltyn a 16-percent stake in the publicly traded company that owned and operated the mine. That stake was raised six year s later to nearly 33 percent.

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