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Centerra Gold responds to latest developments in the Kyrgyz Republic

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Global Mining Review,

Centerra Gold Inc. has issued the following statement in response to the adoption of a resolution by the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, instructing the Government to install ‘external management’ at the Kumtor Mine and Centerra’s Kyrgyz subsidiary, Kumtor Gold Company (KGC), and associated developments.

The company reportedly understands that the Parliament purported to act under a new law, applicable only to Centerra and KGC, that it passed in a single day on 6 May 2021.

“Today’s action by the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic is a clear violation of Centerra’s and KGC’s rights in the Kumtor Mine as well as the Government’s obligations to Centerra and KGC under longstanding investment agreements. This and other recent actions have no justification whatsoever under those agreements or applicable law.

The Kyrgyz Government effectively seized control of the Kumtor Mine over the weekend of 15 and 16 May 2021 by sending Government authorities to the mine, KGC’s office in Bishkek and the homes of several KGC employees. Consequently, Centerra is no longer in control of the Kumtor Mine and can no longer ensure the safety of the mine’s employees or operations. Shortly before the Government took control, all key safety, monitoring and operational systems at the mine were functioning properly. Centerra did not disable any such systems, and the mine was operating without incident. Due to the Government’s unprecedented actions, Centerra has suspended access of all local KGC employees in the Kyrgyz Republic to Centerra’s global IT systems to prevent any unauthorized intrusions into those systems. None of those systems are required to safely operate the mine. The Company urges the Kyrgyz Government to take all measures necessary to ensure the safety of Kumtor’s employees and the mine and to desist from further hostile acts, including document and computer seizures and the intimidation of senior KGC personnel who have been subjected to visits by the security services to their homes and threatened with unjustified criminal action.

We remain willing and available to engage with the Government in a constructive dialogue on the matters it considers to be the subject of dispute. At the same time, the unjustified actions of the Government leave Centerra no choice but to continue to protect its interests and those of its shareholders and KGC through all legal means, including binding international arbitration and otherwise.

Centerra is concerned that these latest actions not only undermine the fundamental basis upon which the Kumtor Mine has been operated, but also put at risk the livelihoods of more than 2700 employees, 99% of whom are Kyrgyz citizens, and the businesses of hundreds of local suppliers who support KGC operations. The actions risk destroying significant value that the Kyrgyz Republic derives from KGC’s position as the country’s largest private employer and taxpayer and put in question plans Centerra announced this year to provide US$2.0 billion in additional capital investments to extend the life of the mine by five years to 2031.

In light of today’s resolution by the Kyrgyz Parliament, and in view of the fact that Centerra is no longer in control of the Kumtor Mine as a result of the Kyrgyz Government’s actions, the company is suspending its previously issued 2021 guidance and three-year outlook relating to the mine.”

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