Centerra Gold officials remain confident that a new Kumtor operating agreement can be reached despite the fall of the Kyrgyz Republic’s ruling coalition government last week, including Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev.
Centerra officials have expressed confidence that the transition will be peaceful and its flagship Kumtor gold mine will continue operating without interruption.
The Prime Minister lost his parliamentary majority last week and was forced to resign. The smallest of the Kyrgyz parliament’s political party factions, Ata Meken accused him of misappropriation of state and foreign funds when he headed the State Directorate for Reconstruction and Development of Osh and Jalal-Abad. The directorate was in charge of reconstruction work in the southern part of the country’s recovery from the Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010.
Ata Meken last week left the majority political coalition, forcing the PM to resign.
Democratically elected Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev accepted the government’s resignation last Wednesday and then signed a decree directing Satybaldiyev’s cabinet to continue working and for him to continue as acting prime minister until a new government is formed. The President will nominate one representative from each of the parliamentary parties to work as a commission to form a new government.
According to Kyrgyz law, a new prime minister must be named in 15 days. If parliament fails to elect a new government after three ballots, the President can dissolve parliament and hold an early election.
The PM was viewed by some as a reformer against corruption and nepotism. He refused to appoint relatives of members of parliament for political posts and dismissed other relatives of MPs from key positions they already occupied.
Satybaldiyev had been pushing for a speedy negotiation settlement with Centerra, the country’s biggest foreign investor, to form a new gold venture to operate Kumtor, which accounts for 7.7% of the county’s economy and 36.5% of Kyrgyz exports in 2013. He strongly rejected demands that Kumtor be nationalized.