March 27 (Reuters) - Centerra Gold said it expects production from its Kumtor mine in the Kyrgyz Republic to be lower than its forecast as increased ice movement delays access to a high-grade zone.
Last month, the Toronto-listed miner had to suspend production at the mine, which accounted for 91 percent of its 2011 output, after unionized employees struck work over salary deductions for payments to the Kyrgyzstan’s social fund.
The company, focused on gold projects in and around Central Asia, now expects the mine to produce 390,000 ounces to 410,000 ounces of gold this year, down from its earlier forecast of 575,000 ounces to 625,000 ounces. In 2011, the mine produced 642,380 ounces of gold.
Centerra, owned 33 percent by the Kyrgyz state, said work stoppage at any time during the year could have a significant impact on Kumtor achieving its revised forecast production.
The recent acceleration of ice and waste movement, which was made worse by the 10-day labor disruption in February, is delaying scheduled access to the high-grade SB zone, the company said.
This will push back production from the SB zone to 2013-2015 from the expected 2012, Centerra said in a statement.
Kumtor contributed 11.7 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s 2011 gross domestic product and 26.1 percent of its industrial output, official data show.
Shares of the company closed at C$16.13 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.