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September 28, 2021

Centerra calls for urgent relief to retain Kumtor mine’s viability

The interim measures aim to address critical operational and safety problems at the Kumtor Mine.

Centerra Gold has filed an application, seeking urgent relief in international arbitration to prevent the Kyrgyz Republic from causing damage to the long-term viability and value of the Kumtor mine.

The firm has requested urgent interim measures in its international arbitration against the Kyrgyz Government and Kyrgyzaltyn JSC, the state-owned firm and Centerra’s largest shareholder.

Centerra claims that the government’s actions jeopardise the safety, sustainability and continued operation of the mine.

Earlier this year, the Kyrgyz Government seized control of Centerra Gold’s Kumtor mine, shortly after the initiation of arbitration proceedings by the firm against the government in a legal battle involving the mine.

This was in response to the government passing a bill that threatened the takeover of the mine if the firm breaches environmental standards.

With the latest measures, the firm is seeking an order directing the Kyrgyz Republic to refrain from deviating from the approved Kumtor Mine Plan and to provide regular operational reports on the mine.

It is also seeking an order to refrain the government and Kyrgyzaltyn from transferring any Centerra shares or mine operator Kumtor Gold Company (KGC) assets or interfering with the arbitration process and intimidating Centerra’s employees.

Centerra chief operating officer Dan Desjardins said: “Statements by Kyrgyz officials since the government’s illegal seizure of the Kumtor mine indicate that they are departing from the approved mine plan in ways that will cause irreversible damage.

“Based on recent reports, the government has also failed to adequately protect the mine’s infrastructure from flooding and other threats and may be facing production difficulties.

“Their actions, and threatened actions in pursuit of short-term profits at the expense of sustainability, place the long-term viability of the Kumtor mine at grave risk and compromise the safety and livelihoods of its employees.”

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