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Fighting for Gold in Kyrgyzstan

Last updated on: May 1, 2013 16:46 IST

Fighting for Gold in Kyrgyzstan

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Kumtor open pit gold mine, the world's second highest gold mining operation is at the centre of a controversy.

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Image: Dump trucks are seen through a windshield of another vehicle at Kumtor open pit gold mine in the Tien Shan mountains, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) southeast of the capital Bishkek near the Chinese border.
Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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Located in the Tien Shan mountains near the Chinese border, Kumtor which means Sand Peak in the Turkic national language is located at more than 4,000 m (13,000 ft) above sea level. 

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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Kumtor is 100 per cent owned by the Canadian mining company, Centerra Gold, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Kumtor Gold Company.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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The mine started operation in 1997 and produced more than 5.8 million ounces (180,000 kg) of gold through the end of 2006.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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However, in mid June 2012, the Kyrgyz Parliament issued a resolution to review Kumtor's compliance with relevant operational, environmental, health and safety and community standards.

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Image: Dump trucks drive along a road at Kumtor open pit gold mine in the Tien Shan mountains, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) southeast of the capital Bishkek near the Chinese border.
Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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Stopping short of voting to nationalise the Kumtor mine, lawmakers instead directed the government to revise the contract, which gives Kyrgyzstan a 33 per cent stake in the company while Centerra retains full ownership of the mine and its output.

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Image: -A worker stands next to a conveyer belt carrying gold ore in Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) southeast of the capital Bishkek near the Chinese border.
Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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Nationalists in Kyrgyzstan are protesting against the government for allegedly selling off the gold mine to foreigners at cheap rates.

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Image: Workers wearing heatproof overalls pour molten gold from a crucible into moulds in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory.
Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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Workers wearing heatproof overalls pour molten gold from a crucible into moulds in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) southeast of the capital Bishkek near the Chinese border.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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A worker wearing heatproof overalls carries a mould  with molten gold alloy in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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Workers wearing heatproof overalls carry a gold alloy bars in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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Moulds with hot molten gold alloy are seen in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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A worker cleans poured gold alloy bars in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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A worker holds a polished gold alloy bar in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) southeast of the capital Bishkek near the Chinese border.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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An operator works in a control room at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) southeast of the capital Bishkek near the Chinese border.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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KOC employs around 3,400 full-time and contract workers and Kumtor mine in the Tien Shan mountains.

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Image: Michael Fisher, President of Kumtor Operating Company (KOC) listens to questions during an interview with Reuters in Bishkek March 11, 2013.


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A general view of  Kumtor open pit gold mine in the Tien Shan mountains, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) southeast of the capital Bishkek near the Chinese border.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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Polished gold alloy bars in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory.

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Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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A poured gold alloy bar is seen before polishing in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains.

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A worker stamps polished gold alloy bars in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory in the Tien Shan mountains.

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Photographs: Reuters.

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A hot poured gold alloy bar which has been turned out from a mould is seen in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory.


Image: A hot poured gold alloy bar which has been turned out from a mould is seen in a workshop at Kumtor gold mine extraction factory.
Photographs: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

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