Mine Restored to Full Operations Under Guidance of New External Management
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, June 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - The Management of Kumtor Mine ("Kumtor") today provided an operational update on Kumtor following its first month under the control of an external management team. 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, a subsidiary of Centerra Gold Inc. ("Centerra") (TSX:CG) (NYSE:CGAU), under an agreement established with the Government in 2009.
Management is pleased to report that Kumtor is operating at full capacity and meeting all production expectations. Initial hurdles resulting from the maneuvers of Centerra designed to impede smooth operations have been overcome. Managers drew upon their experience and the goodwill of employees, suppliers and contractors to restore key systems and resume production at the mine.
Highlights of the first month of Kumtor operations under the new management team include:
- Sold more than 44,000 ounces of gold produced at Kumtor.
- Restored IT systems which had been shut down remotely by the previous operator.
- Paid all employees their full wages in full, despite Centerra freezing $1.7 billion of the mine's funds.
- Maintained the continuity of supplies to the mine, despite confusion after Centerra directed suppliers to pause deliveries in contradiction of the stay order issued by the New York bankruptcy court. Management provided reassurance and issued letters from legal counsel to clarify that suppliers may continue to operate as usual.
- Invested in the next generation of talent, both through summer internships at Kumtor offered to Kyrgyz Republic university students, and by sending 19 young professionals from Kumtor to the International Exhibition of Technologies and Equipment for the Mining Week in Kazakhstan.
In addition to day-to-day operations, the external management team has begun planning on projects designed to deliver significant long-term improvements at Kumtor. Initiatives under consideration include waste management, tailings recycling, underground mining, water usage, and overall risk reduction.
About Kumtor Mine
Kumtor Mine is one of the largest gold mines in Central Asia, and one of the world's highest-altitude gold mining operations. Located approximately 350 kilometers from Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic, Kumtor operates at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level in a partially glaciated permafrost zone in the Central Tien Shan Mountains. Kumtor has been operating since May 1997, employs more than 4,000 people, and has produced more than 12.5 million ounces of gold. In May 2021, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic assumed temporary control of Kumtor to ensure compliance with safety and environmental standards.
SOURCE External Management of Kumtor Mine