The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for a “speedy and transparent” resolution of the ongoing dispute over the Kumtor gold mine, in Kyrgyzstan, noting that stable gold production is key to the Central Asian nation’s economic growth forecasts of 3.8% in 2021 and 6.4% in 2022.
Stressing the importance of political stability, policy predictability and a market-friendly business environment, the IMF says that a resolution of the dispute is “critical" to ensure uninterrupted gold production, while protecting the environment.
The IMF statements were made following the conclusion of an Article IV assessment of the country, and refer to a dispute with Canadian miner Centerra Gold over Kumtor – the largest foreign investment project in Kyrgyzstan.
Centerra operated the gold mine until last month, when Kyrgyzstan lawmakers passed legislation giving the State power to temporarily take control of the mine and appoint external management to address alleged environmental and safety problems.
Centerra has dismissed accusations of environmental and safety concerns as a “concerted effort to falsely justify a nationalisation of the mine”.
The Canadian company has taken legal action over the mine seizure.