CENTERRA Gold’s Kumtor project in the Kyrgyz Republic has received an extension to July 4 of permits for emissions into the atmosphere and waste disposal into the tailings management facility. The one-month extension was granted by the State Agency of Environmental Protection and Forestry (SAEPF), which continues to review Kumtor’s annual mine plan and has until early September to complete its review.
Centerra Gold’s Kumtor Gold Project is high up in the Tien Shan Mountains in the Kyrgyz Republic.
SAEPF has advised Centerra that it is not necessary to suspend operations while it continues its review of the plan. The process of obtaining approval of Kumtor’s plan and other permits required for operation of the project has been impacted by concerns regarding the potential application of the Kyrgyz Water Code.
The government has proposed draft amendments to the Water Code to the Kyrgyz Republic parliament that, if adopted, would alleviate this concern. Centerra disputes SAEPF’s interpretation of the code, including on the basis that the stabilization and non-discrimination provisions contained in the agreements governing Kumtor and the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic which implemented these agreements support the view that the Water Code does not apply to the operations.
The project agreements provide that Kumtor is entitled to receive all licences, permits and approvals as are necessary or convenient for the operation of the project. The annual mine plan submitted by Kumtor is consistent with its past operations and previously approved mine plans. As such, Centerra and Kumtor believe that the annual mine plan should be approved and all permits provided in the usual course.
During the March quarter Centerra produced 170,683 ounces of gold, including 164,272 ounces from Kumtor. This compared to a total of 116,669 ounces in the first quarter of 2014. The increase reflects higher production at Kumtor due to higher grade feed being processed through the mill.
March quarter activities focused on completing mining from cut-back 16 and starting waste stripping in cut-back 17. During the quarter, Kumtor mined approximately 1.3 million tonnes at an average grade of 3.30 grams/tonne, compared to 100,000 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1.45 grams/tonne in the first quarter of 2014, when the company focused exclusively on waste stripping and processed lower grade stockpiled ore.
During 2015, Kumtor will continue development and waste mining from cut-back 17 which is expected to provide an increase in the grade of ore at the end of the third quarter compared to the lower grade stockpiled ore currently being processed.