. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kyrgyzstan Opens Remote Gold Mine

KUMTOR, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev and the head of Canada's Cameco Corp. opened the remote Kumtor gold mine Tuesday high in the barren Tien Shan Mountains.

Kumtor, the largest joint venture in the former Soviet republic of 4.5 million people, has gold reserves of 514 tons from ore grading 3.5-4.0 grams per ton.

"Kumtor has shown a future for foreign investment in Kyrgyzstan," said Akayev at the mine, near Kyrgyzstan's mountainous border with China.

Cameco is part-owned by the government of Canada's Saskatchewan province, with remaining shares listed on both the Montreal and Toronto stock exchanges. The mining company, better known as a large uranium producer, has invested $452 million in Kumtor.

The world-class Kumtor deposit was hidden under a million tons of glacier ice and mining equipment had to be carted up a treacherous mountain road to gain access. Cameco owns one third of the mine but has a two-thirds voting stake for the first decade of operations. State-owned Kyrgyzaltyn owns the remaining two thirds.