May 27, 2016 / 4:16 PM / 2 years ago

Centerra's Kumtor says permit delay may disrupt operations

BISHKEK, May 27 (Reuters) - Kumtor Operating Company, part of Canada’s Centerra Gold, will be forced to halt operations at the Kumtor gold mine unless it receives environmental permits to continue beyond June, it said on Friday.

“Centerra and Kumtor are very, very committed to working with the government and state agencies to solve all of the relevant issues that we have in front of us,” Kumtor Chief Executive Daniel Desjardins told reporters.

“But clearly, if we do not have the permits, we will have to stop operations at the mine,” he said.

A court in Kyrgyzstan fined Kumtor Operating Company 6.7 billion soms ($98 million) this week for environmental damage and hearings in another environment-related lawsuit for about $230 million will take place on May 30.

The Central Asian republic and Centerra have been locked in a bitter dispute over profit sharing and the authorities said last year they were withdrawing from the negotiations.

Kyrgyz prosecutors raided the company’s offices last month to collect documents related to a separate criminal case alleging financial violations by the firm. (Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; writing by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by David Clarke)

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