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Centerra Says Kyrgyz Gold Mine Shut Down

John Pearson, Centerra Gold company's Vice President Investor Relations, looks on at the gold-mining plant at the Kumtor mine.
Centerra Gold says a strike at its key gold mine in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan has halted almost all its operations.

In a statement, the Canadian company said it considered the strike -- now into its ninth day -- to be illegal.

Workers want Centerra to give back money the company took out of their pay to contribute to the state social fund.

Correspondents say the Kumtor mine accounts for almost 12 percent of the economy in Kyrgyzstan and has been at the center of several industrial and environmental disputes.

Centerra produced 585,000 ounces of gold last year at the mine, which accounts for a majority of the company's global output.

compiled from agency reports