A huge gold mine providing more than 10% of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP has been fined 2.5 billion euros for environmental violations, a decision fought by a Canadian company operating the mine.
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“On May 7, according to the decision of the Octiarchski court in Bishkek, it was decided to claim 261.7 billion som (2.53 billion euros) from Komtor Gold Company”, AFP on Saturday told a court spokesman.
The company, owned by Canadian conglomerate Centra Gould, was accused of storing garbage for years on two glaciers surrounding the mine.
The condemnation came after the Kyrgyz parliament passed a law authorizing the government of this Central Asian country to impose “external management” on foreign companies operating under concession agreements, as is the case for the Center, and There is a violation of the environment.
To enter into force, the law must now be signed by the new Kyrgyz President Sadar Zaparov, the center’s longtime rival.
In a statement, the Canadian group was surprised at the proximity of these two decisions, noting that the law had “passed three readings and was adopted by Parliament in one day”.
The center said that “the mine’s environmental performance is in line with international standards” and the allegation dates back several years, while a 2009 agreement earlier dismissed it from prosecution for “alleged damage to the environment” Was.
“The company is therefore strongly convinced that the claims (…) are completely unfounded”, adds the Canadian group.
The main contributor to Kyrgyzstan’s budget, the Komtour mine, employs 4,000 people and, according to its figures, represents 12.5% of the country’s GDP in 2020.
Calling for its nationalization, Kyrgyz has long strained relations with the state and unrest has spread on several occasions in recent years.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, after passing legislation by the Kyrgyz parliament, the Centre’s shares plunged by 29.8% on Friday.
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