Canadian Mining Journal


Centerra to appeal environmental fines

Centerra Gold’s (TSX: CG) subsidiary has been ordered to pay US$98 million for environmental damages at the Kumtor gold mine, and faces another US$225 million in environmental fines, all of which the company intends to appeal.

On May 25, the Bishkek interdistrict court in Kyrgyzstan ruled that the Kumtor Operating Company (KOC) would have to pay an environmental fine of about US$98.4 million for Kumtor’s waste rock. The ruling follows a claim that the state inspectorate office for environmental and technical safety (SIETS) filed along with others in 2012, alleging that the company should pay tariffs for placing waste rock on Kumtor’s waste dumps. The tariffs are normally applicable to industrial or domestic waste.

“The agency is interpreting that the waste rock should have a fee on it. But, you see our 2009 [investment] agreements outline a complete set of taxes, fees and other charges applicable to the Kumtor project. So, we have been arguing that the waste rock is covered under our mine plan and shouldn’t be subjected to this tariff,” John Pearson, the company’s vice-president of investor relations, explains. “We are obviously appealing that.”

Centerra is also appealing a May 24 interdistrict court ruling against its subsidiary in another SIETS claim alleging unrecorded wastes from Kumtor’s effluent and sewage treatment plants, amounting to roughly US$10,000 in damages.

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