Two new studies say that Kumtor, Kyrgyzstan’s largest gold mine, as well as a major government revenue source, routinely ignores national environmental legislation and restricts access to independent auditors. The mine’s operations could have a far-reaching, detrimental effect on Central Asia’s water supply, one of the reports suggests.
Kumtor last year accounted for nearly 12 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP and 54 percent of its industrial output, according to preliminary government figures. It has long been a source of concern for local residents in Issyk-Kul Province, who complain of health problems and lowered fish stocks since the mine opened in 1996. Neither the Kumtor Operating Company (KOC) nor the Canada-based company that controls it, Centerra Gold, replied to EurasiaNet.org’s requests for comment. The Kyrgyz government controls one-third of Centerra, which has a 100-percent stake in Kumtor.
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