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Kyrgyzstan Forms Working Group To Review Terms Of Gold-Mine Deal

A worker walks inside a gold-processing plant at the Kumtor gold mine in the Tien Shan Mountains.
BISHKEK -- The government of Kyrgyzstan is forming a special working group to review the contract for its Canadian-owned Kumtor gold mine.

Bishkek said on February 1 the group will have one month to review the terms of the agreements with Kumtor, including a 2009 deal approved by then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

That deal granted the mine a low tax rate that officials say deprives the state budget of millions of dollars in revenue.

The Toronto-based mining giant Centerra Gold, which has operated the Kumtor mine since 1997, says any negotiations must take "existing legal obligations" into account.

Kyrgyz Justice Minister Almambet Shykmamatov says the mine will be profitable for decades and that the country is prepared to take the case to an international court to fight for a larger share of the profits.