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Two engineers are seen pouring the top layer of molten gold into a basin in the Kumtor mine mill in Kyrgyzstan in this 2008 file photo.

ANDREW CABALLERO REYNOLDS

Toronto-based Centerra Gold Inc. says an employee at its Kumtor Mine in the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia has been killed.

The company says the person was operating an excavator which tipped over and slipped into a water-filled basin near the edge of Petrov Lake, about five kilometres northeast of the Kumtor mill site.

It says an internal investigation has begun and mine managers are working closely with regulators and other state authorities to find the cause of the incident.

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Kumtor contributed about 600,000 of Centerra’s 783,000 ounces of gold production in 2019 despite being shut down in December following a waste rock dump movement that resulted in the loss of two of its employees.

A search and rescue operation was called off in January with family and state consent after six weeks of searching turned up no sign of the missing employees.

The Kyrgyz authorities then issued approvals and permits to recommence open pit mining operations and to continue milling activity for the remainder of 2020.

“Our thoughts, condolences and prayers are with the family and our deepest appreciation goes out to all those involved in the search and recovery efforts,” the company said Tuesday in a news release.

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