BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan said Wednesday that it had launched the process of kicking out its largest foreign investor, Canada’s Centerra Gold, over “large-scale corruption” at the impoverished country’s largest gold mine.
Kyrgyz authorities earlier this year seized control over the mine formerly operated by the company which accounted for 12.5 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP in 2020 and has long fuelled political struggles in the ex-Soviet republic. The country’s security committee said the process of cancelling the agreement between the Kyrgyz government and Centerra had aready begun, with an ongoing investigation finding “large-scale corruption throughout the entire period of cooperation” between the government and the companies operating the mine. Centerra, a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, admitted in May that it was “no longer in control of the Kumtor Mine and can no longer ensure the safety of the mine’s employees or operations”.
In a statement on its financial results Tuesday, the firm said that it now considered the Kumtor mine among its “discontinued operations”.
A host of high profile Kyrgyz politicians have been either questioned or detained in connection with the government’s ongoing investigation into alleged graft at the gold mine.