BISHKEK, June 1 (RIA Novosti) – The Canadian-owned Kumtor gold mine in northern Kyrgyzstan, that has been rocked by mass protests this week demanding its nationalization, resumed operations on Saturday, the vice president of Kumtor Operating Company (KOC), which runs the mine, said.
“For two days we have not dug for ore, but this will not affect the overall production process,” Rodney Stuparyk told Deputy Prime Minister Taiyrbek Sarpashev on Saturday.
Sarpashev said the situation in the region has normalized, the road leading to the mine is open and power supply has been restored. The deputy premier has asked the company to launch production at full capacity on Monday.
Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev declared a state of emergency in a district in the north of the country on Friday after protests at the nation’s biggest gold mine turned into violent riots.
The protesters also demanded a bigger share of the profits from the country's most lucrative gold mine and more investment in local infrastructure.
A total of 55 people, 13 of them police, were injured when protesters clashed with police near Centerra Gold's Kumtor gold mine. Five police and three protesters were hospitalized.
Earlier this week, several hundred protesters blocked the road leading to Kumtor, in Issyk Kul Province, north of the border with China, and cut electricity to the mine. Several dozen protesters have been arrested, local media said citing officials.
Kumtor is the largest gold mine in Central Asia and produced more than 8.4 million ounces of gold between 1997 and the end of 2011, according to Centerra's website. Under a 2009 agreement, the Kyrgyz government acquired one-third of Centerra.