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UPDATE 1-Canada 'very concerned' about Kyrgyzstan takeover of Centerra gold mine

(Adds background, detail)

May 17 (Reuters) - Canada on Monday said it was “very concerned” by Kyrgyzstan’s move to impose external management on Centerra Gold’s Kumtor Gold Company and warned it could have far-reaching consequences on foreign investment in the country.

On Sunday, Centerra said it had initiated binding arbitration against the Kyrgyzstan government, after the parliament passed a law allowing the state to temporarily take over the company’s Kumtor gold mine, the country’s biggest industrial enterprise.

Recently, a Kyrgyzstan court also imposed $3.1 billion fine on Kumtor Gold Company (KGC), which operates the gold mine, after ruling that the firm had violated environmental laws.

“As a significant investment partner of the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada is very concerned about continued developments in the mining sector,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and International Trade Minister Mary Ng said in a joint statement on Monday.

“Canada is also disappointed that this dispute between foreign investors and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic was not allowed to be resolved transparently by the parties working together.”

Earlier on Monday, Centerra said it would suspend its previously issued 2021 production guidance and three-year outlook for the asset “in view of the fact that Centerra is no longer in control” of the mine. (Reporting by Jeff Lewis Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)

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