BUSINESS

Centerra Gold still aiming to meet 2013 target at troubled Kumtor mine

06/03/2013 07:19 EDT | Updated 08/03/2013 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX:CG) says it expects the Kumtor mine in eastern Kyrgyzstan to achieve its 2013 production target despite last week's unscheduled shutdown caused by protests calling for nationalization of the operation.

Centerra said on Sunday that the mine and mill had resumed operations. Prior to the shutdown, the company had been ramping up Kumtor's output and expected to produce more than half of the 2013 total in the fourth quarter.

"Although still under evaluation, the company does not believe that the suspension of operations will have a significant impact on 2013 forecasted gold production," Centerra said.

Kumtor is the largest foreign-owned gold mine in the former Soviet Union. It accounts for about 12 per cent of the Kyrgyzstan's economy and has been at the centre of heated debate between those favouring nationalization and officials who believe that would deter much-needed foreign investment.

On Friday, more than 50 people were wounded and 80 detained in violent clashes between stone-throwing protesters trying to storm the mine's office and riot police, who fought back with rubber bullets and stun grenades.

The blockade was lifted on Saturday and power was restored.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev met with local residents on Saturday during a visit to the area and assured them that the government will make sure that the nation gets more revenues from the mine through taxes.