Kyrgyzstan’s parliament rejects new gold mine deal as unrest continues

Transitions Online
Fecha de publicación: 
31 Oct 2013

Legislators in Kyrgyzstan have rejected a proposal to increase the government's share in the country's key industrial asset, the controversial Kumtor gold mine, Radio Free Europe reports.


The deal would have made Bishkek 50-50 partners with the mine's operator, Canada-based Centerra Gold. But on 23 October parliament gave the government until 23 December to reach a deal to increase its stake from the current 33 percent to 67 percent despite Centerra's insistence that it will not accept a minority share.


If a deal isn't reached by the deadline, legislators pledged to break the current operating contract – a move bound to look "a lot like expropriation," points out.


Outside the mine, located in the northern Issyk-Kul province, protesters continued to demand Kumtor´s nationalization, an increasingly familiar demand over the past year. Though Kumtor accounts for 12 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP, many say Centerra Gold pays too little in taxes and that the country deserves a better deal.


In May, thousands of protesters clashed with police near Kumtor, prompting the government to draft the more lucrative deal for a 50-50 partnership. In renewed protests earlier this month, demonstrators blocked a key highway and briefly took the provincial governor hostage.