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Centerra Gold Inc. announces risk of catastrophic events at Kumtor mine

Centerra Gold Inc. announced risk of potentially catastrophic events at the Kumtor mine. Mining.com reports, citing a statement by the Canadian company.

As it is noted, there are at least 40 meters of water at the bottom of Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan and «abnormally» large amounts running down the pit walls, which, according to Centerra Gold, could lead to catastrophic events.

According to the company, in the three months the former soviet nation has been running the mine, the pit has flooded with more water than they ever saw collect in the over 25 years of the operation under its control.

While the government-controlled Kumtor Gold Company (KGC) said the mine is stable and running at full speed, Centerra said it has photographic evidence suggesting the contrary. They include a video posted on August 15 on KGC’s Facebook page.

Centerra Gold Inc.
Photo Centerra Gold Inc.. The mine under Centerra's operation (left) and current (right).

«Based on these images, Centerra believes at least 40 meters of water may be at the bottom of the Kumtor central pit. This has put the entire mine and its workers at risk of potentially catastrophic events, not to mention the real harm to the environment,» the company said in the statement.

The Toronto-based miner believes urgent action is needed to address critical safety and operational issues.

«This is massive and the entire situation presents an imminent danger at many levels, not just the water in the pit, but also the tailings storage facility due to glacier melt», Lindsay Newland Bowker, executive director at World Mine Tailings Failures commented.

«The Kyrgyz government has zero capacity and no money to take on a proper assessment or correction of this problem,» she added.