Operations Resume Following Assumption of Control by External Management
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, May 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - Akylbek Japarov, Member of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) of the Kyrgyz Republic and Chairman of the State Commission created by resolution of the Jogorku Kenesh on February 17, 2021 (the "State Commission"), today provided an update on the status of the Kumtor Mine ("Kumtor").
Operational control of Kumtor has been fully transferred to an external management team, led by Tengiz Bolturuk. On May 17, 2021, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (the "Government") approved a legal process to enable it to assume control of the operations for a period of three months. Kumtor was previously operated by Kumtor Gold Company ("KGC"), a subsidiary of Centerra Gold Inc. ("Centerra") (TSX:CG) (NYSE:CGAU), under an agreement established with the Government in 2009.
"We are pleased to have quickly addressed the most critical issues at Kumtor and the mine has been restored to full operations," said Akylbek Japarov, Chairman of the State Commission. "Our team, led by Tengiz Bolturuk, has evaluated the situation and taken decisive steps to ensure both the safety of our workers and the protection of our environment."
Progress achieved at Kumtor in its first week under the control of the new management team includes the following:
- Completed an initial evaluation of all critical functions at the site and implemented a short-term plan to resume operations.
- Implemented manual processes to replace vital systems that had been shut down remotely by the previous operators after vacating the site.
- Took steps to ensure safe conditions for all employees, contractors and suppliers to return to the site
- Gave assurances to all employees that wages owing to them will be paid in a timely manner.
- Made arrangements with suppliers to continue to provide materials essential to operations.
- Resumed production of gold at the site.
- Arranged for the short-term funding required to maintain operations, and began discussions relating to longer-term financing options.
"Kyrgyz nationals represent approximately 95% of Kumtor employees and they have the collective experience and skills required to continue operations. Our first priority has been to restore the mine to a state in which our team can do their jobs safely," said Tengiz Bolturuk, general manager of Kumtor. "Now that the situation has stabilized and operations have resumed, our focus will begin to shift to optimizing the mine plan with a view to increasing gold production over the longer term."
Tengiz Bolturuk is a professional engineer with more than three decades of experience in the mining industry. A native of the village of Tyup, Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan, he has worked on mining projects spanning four continents, including one year as Mill Foreman at Kumtor. Mr. Bolturuk holds a B.Sc. in Mineral Processing from National University of Science and Technology in Moscow and an M.Sc. in Metallurgy from the Clausthal University of Technology in Germany.
About the Kyrzyg Republic State Commission
The State Commission was established by Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic through resolution #4405-VI dated February 17, 2021 and resolution #4422-VI dated February 24, 2021. Its central task is to conduct a thorough investigation of concerns relating to the operation of Kumtor, including its safety record, waste management and other environmental practices. The State Commission has presented its interim findings to the Jogorku Kenesh, and concluded that a temporary assumption of control of Kumtor was warranted.
SOURCE Akylbek Japarov