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Kyrgyz Parliament Gives More Time To Renegotiate Kumtor Gold Mine

Protesters demand the nationalization of the Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan late last month.
Protesters demand the nationalization of the Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan late last month.
Kyrgyzstan's parliament has given the government another four months to renegotiate the terms of a 2009 financial agreement on the nation's biggest gold mine, Kumtor, with Canada's Centerra Gold.

The resolution was adopted on June 4 after Deputy Prime Minister Joomart Otorbaev requested more time for talks with the government’s financial and legal consultants.

In late February, the parliament requested that the government renegotiate the deal by June.

The 2009 deal granted the company a low tax rate, which officials say deprives the state budget of millions of dollars in revenue.

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

Last week, thousands of protesters, demanding the nationalization of Kumtor, clashed with police near the gold mine.

In related news, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has replaced the chief of the State Committee for National Security (UKMK) in the wake of the protests.

The presidential press service announced on June 5 that the Kyrgyz Defense Council's secretary, Major General Busurmankul Tabaldiev, has been appointed as the new UKMK chief.

Outgoing Beishenbai Junusov was harshly criticized by Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev last weekend for "being unable to prevent and adequately react to unrest" caused by the Kumtor mine protests.

With reporting by KyrTAG and Interfax

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