UPDATE 2-Centerra Gold says protesters block road to Kyrgyz mine

Tue May 28, 2013 3:48pm EDT
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* Says mine operations currently not impacted

* Says production may be hit if road block not removed in timely manner

* Co in talks with local authorities, Kyrgyz government

By Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay

May 28 (Reuters) - Protesters have blocked the only road to Centerra Gold Inc's flagship mine in Kyrgyzstan, the latest in a series of disruptions to jeopardize the gold production that underpins the Central Asian state's fragile economy.

Toronto-listed Centerra Gold said operations at the high-altitude Kumtor mine had not been impacted, but said the community protest was interfering with the movement of supplies and personnel to and from the pit.

"If the road block is not removed in a timely manner, there may be a material negative impact on operations," Centerra said in a statement on Tuesday. This would include the company's gold production and financial results, it said.

The Kumtor mine, bisected by a glacier 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) above sea level, is the largest gold mine operated by a Western company in Central Asia and has been a frequent flashpoint between rival politicans in the restive ex-Soviet republic.

Amid calls to nationalize the mine, Kyrgyzstan's parliament has demanded that the government redraw the 2009 agreement under which Centerra operates Kumtor, which contributed 12 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2011.   Continued...