Kyrgyzstan’s government is working overtime to convince legislators and the public that a preliminary restructuring deal involving the country’s largest foreign investor is in the state’s best interests. But parliament’s governing coalition is balking at signing off on the deal.
Parliament’s hesitation is plunging the future of Kyrgyzstan’s economy and the government into uncertainty. It also threatens to prolong the country’s half-life as a radioactive environment for foreign investors.
In early September, Toronto-listed Centerra Gold and the state-run gold company, Kyrgyzaltyn, announced a non-binding memorandum that would regulate future negotiations concerning the Kumtor gold mine – Kyrgyzstan’s largest industrial asset and the largest foreign-owned gold mine in the former Soviet Union. In a good year, Kumtor accounts for approximately 12 percent of GDP, and roughly half of Kyrgyzstan’s industrial output.
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David Trilling is EurasiaNet's Central Asia editor.