President and CEO of Centerra Gold Inc. Scott Perry expressed his gratitude to the employees of Kumtor mine. The open letter was published on the official website of the company.
«Over the course of many years, we have accomplished something together that a lot of people thought was impossible. With your help, we developed the most advanced gold mining company in the Kyrgyz Republic and created thousands of well-paying jobs for Kyrgyz citizens. I am proud of what we accomplished together — and I hope you are as well,» Scott Perry says in the letter.
He noted that it has now been more than a month since the government seized the mine based on false information that undermines everything that has been built together.
«We have made clear that we would like to negotiate with the Kyrgyz government, but it has repeatedly refused to engage with us in any way. Instead, the government continues to perpetuate falsehoods about our past operation of the mine as a pretext for its unjustified actions. This is why we want to make sure you know the truth,» the letter says.
As the head of the company believes, the government’s claims about the mine’s environmental record are false.
As Centerra Gold Inc. CEO stressed, working together, a world-class facility to international environmental, safety and engineering standards was operated. KGC’s operations and activities have always adhered to agreements with the Kyrgyz government and applicable laws. The government, including the state agency responsible for the environment, approved mining plans and permits every year, and KGC operated the mine accordingly. Now that the government has taken control of the mine, it continues to operate it under the same plans.
Glacial retreat long predates the development of the Kumtor mine and is common to glaciers throughout the Kyrgyz Republic as well as alpine glaciers in other areas of the world as a result of climate change.
The practice of depositing waste rock on glaciers in the Kumtor area, which prior Kyrgyz governments had approved, was discontinued in 2014 and waste rock and ice was segregated to avoid co-disposal.
The letter also notes that safety of employees has always been company’s priority.
«Shortly before the government took control, all key safety, monitoring and operational systems were functioning properly. As you can imagine, when government authorities confiscated computers and passwords of individual Kumtor employees, Centerra Gold’s global IT systems restricted all user access to preserve the integrity of the organization’s global IT infrastructure. Although central system access is restricted, mine safety systems, including the individual pit wall and glacier monitoring systems, remained operational,» Scott Perry stresses.
President of Centerra Gold Inc. also refuted Tengiz Bolturuk’s claims about blocked KGC’s access to $1.7 billion.
As of April 30, 2021, KGC had US$17.1 million in its bank account, which was intended to meet the immediate needs of operating the mine.
Average weekly expenditures at the mine of $16.2 million include wages for more than 4,000 full time and contract employees and supplies purchased from hundreds of local Kyrgyz businesses.
«We are deeply disappointed that the government’s dispute with us has come to this point. We were ready to invest an additional $2 billion to extend the life of the Kumtor mine and looked forward to working with you for at least another decade. Unfortunately, we had to put these plans on hold because of what has happened,» Scott Perry stressed.
President of Centerra Gold Inc. noted that he hopes for resolving disputes through negotiation and compromise.
«We have solved the unsolvable before, and I know we can do it again. The sooner the government engages, the more certainty there will be for everyone. In the meantime, I want to express my deep gratitude for all your hard work and dedication over the years and hope that we can all move forward,» he noted.