UPDATE 1-Centerra faces environmental claim from Kyrgyz govt
Dec 14 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Centerra Gold Inc said it faces a $152 million environmental damages claim from the Kyrgyzstan government related to mining at its Kumtor project.
Centerra said the claim was "exaggerated or without foundation" but it could not be sure that the matter could be resolved without a material impact on the company.
The Kumtor gold mine accounted for 12 percent of the country's GDP and more than a half of its exports in 2011.
Toronto-based Centerra is one-third owned by the Kyrgyzstan government.
The company said the claim by the Kyrgyzstan environmental authority included about $142 million related to the placement of waste rock from mining operations on waste dumps.
"The activities raised in the claims, particularly the mining and placement of waste rock on waste dumps, have been approved at all times by appropriate Kyrgyz authorities," CEO Ian Atkinson said in a statement on Friday.
The Kumtor mine, located near the Chinese border in wilderness some 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level, employs 2,710 full-time workers.
Centerra's shares, which have lost 32 percent of their value over the last six months, closed at C$8.09 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday.