Canadian mining company Centerra Gold is in discussions with the government of Kyrgyzstan concerning a new ownership arrangement for its controversial Kumtor mine.

The Toronto-headquartered company said that it is negotiating a joint venture deal which will convert the government’s 32.7% equity stake in Centerra into direct ownership of the Kumtor mine.

In 2009, Kyrgystan signed a deal with Centerra to operate the Kumtor mine. However, a state commission accused that the Canadian company is paying less to operate the mine and is also damaging environment.

The government of Kyrgyzstan said in a separate statement that the size of its stake in Kumtor mine will be decided by independent financial consultants hired by Kyrgyzaltyn and Centerra, reported Reuters.

According to the government, the proposed JV will be registered in Kyrgyzstan and run by a board consisting of an equal number of representatives of both parties.
Last week, Centerra temporarily halted operations at Kumtor mine amid protests from hundreds of villagers demanding nationalization of the mine.