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Hundreds Blocking Road To Kyrgyzstan's Kumtor Gold Mine

The Kumtor gold mine at night
SARUU, Kyrgyzstan -- A union leader says Kumtor, Kyrgyzstan's biggest gold mine, will only be able to operate for several more days unless the major road leading to the mine is unblocked.

Eldar Tajibaev, chairman of the miners' union, said that the amount of food and fuel at the mine will be sufficient to sustain the operations for a maximum of six days.

Hundreds of local citizens have been blocking the road since May 28 demanding compensation for environmental damage allegedly cause by the mining operation.

The protesters, who have been joined by opposition politicians and activists, want the mine's operator, Canada-based Centerra Gold Company, to build environmentally friendly infrastructure and medical facilities for the local population.

In February, the parliament gave the government three months to renegotiate the terms of the 2009 contract on Kumtor.