UPDATE 3-Kyrgyzstan presses for 67 pct share in Kumtor gold venture

Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:23pm EDT
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* Dispute over Kumtor a warning signal for potential investors

* Government has until Dec. 23 to report results of new talks

* Shares drop 19 percent

* Persistent anti-Centerra riots keep tension on the boil (Adds Centerra comment, paragraph 8)

By Olga Dzyubenko

BISHKEK, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted on Wednesday to seek control over a proposed gold mining venture with Canada's Centerra Gold, demanding a 50-50 agreement signed last month be torn up in an intensifying row over a major foreign currency earner.

Parliament voted to cancel agreements unilaterally with Centerra and demand 67 percent in the new gold venture with the Canadian firm, which owns 100 percent of the Kumtor gold mine. Centerra shares fell more than 19 percent.

The face off with the Toronto-listed miner played out against a backdrop of riots and opposition calls to nationalize Kumtor and exposed the risks potential investors face in the volatile nation, which has overthrown two presidents since 2005.

The dispute flared up last year after parliament told the government to redraw financial agreements with Centerra Gold and a special commission accused the miner of inflicting huge ecological damage on the country.   Continued...