Kyrgyzstan pressing ahead with removing Centerra Gold from Kumtor mine

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the Kumtor open pit gold mine at an altitude of about about 4,000 meters above sea level in the Tien Shan mountains, Kyrgyzstan, May 28, 2021. Picture taken May 28, 2021. REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov/File photo

BISHKEK (Reuters) -Kyrgyzstan has established enough evidence to press on with removing Canada’s Centerra Gold from the Kumtor gold mine, the state security service and prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The security service is investigating possible corruption in the deal that gave Centerra control over the country’s biggest gold mine and subsequent amendments to the pact.

It said on Wednesday it has established enough facts to press ahead with annulling the deal.

A spokesperson for Centerra referred Reuters to prior statements in which the company described the seizure of the mine as unjustified and illegal and dismissed the Kyrgyz allegations as false.

Centerra Gold this week said it had recognised a $926 million loss on the change of control and included the Kumtor Mine in its discontinued operations.

The government seized control over Kumtor in May in a move challenged by Centerra Gold through international arbitration.

“While we continue to pursue all measures necessary to protect the company’s rights related to the Kumtor mine, in arbitration and in other legal proceedings, the company has consistently stated that it remains willing and available to engage with the Kyrgyz government in a constructive dialogue on the matters it considers to be the subject of dispute,” the spokesperson said.

Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; writing by Olzhas Auyezov;editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely