Centerra Gold open to selling seized Kumtor mine to Kyrgyz Republic – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – June 2, 2021)

Toronto’s Centerra Gold Inc. says it is willing to sell its giant Kumtor gold mine to the Kyrgyzstan government, after initially ruling out a sale of the mine to anyone after the former Soviet Republic nationalized the asset last month.

The mid-tier gold producer has been in crisis mode after the landlocked Kyrgyz Republic in central Asia seized control of its wholly owned mine in mid-May, citing alleged environmental infractions and tax fraud by Centerra.

In the aftermath, the company launched an international arbitration suit against the Kyrgyz government, accused a former director of conspiring to steal the asset and moved to stop Kyrgyzstan from selling the government’s equity stake in the company.

On Tuesday, Centerra doubled down on its legal manoeuvres, saying its Kyrgyz subsidiaries were launching Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection proceedings in a New York court.

Scott Perry, the chief executive officer of Centerra, said in a conference call with analysts on Tuesday the proceedings are necessary because it appears that Kyrgyzstan is set to strip Centerra of any claim to the mine.

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