Centerra Gold’s Kumtor mine, located in the Kyrgyz Republic, experienced a “significant rock movement” at the Lysii Waste Rock Dump in the morning hours of December 1. The mine initiated an emergency evacuation of all personnel from the area and an immediate cessation of mining operations.

Two Kumtor employees who were working in the area did not report to the emergency gathering area and remain missing. A search and rescue operation, which began immediately, is ongoing in cooperation with the Kyrgyz Republic Ministry of Emergencies, according to the company.

“Our primary focus right now remains on the safe return of our two missing employees and the safety of our search and rescue teams who are working in very challenging circumstances,” said Scott Perry, president and CEO of Centerra Gold. “While the search continues, we are coordinating closely with the family members of the missing employees and our thoughts and support are with the families, the search and rescue teams, as well as with the entire Kumtor team.”

Open-pit mining operations have been temporarily halted and the mine plan is being re-evaluated. The company said it will not be in a position to make any comments about the restart of open-pit mining operations until the search and rescue efforts have been completed and a revised mine plan has been developed.

The Kumtor mill is expected to continue uninterrupted processing ore that has been stockpiled on surface and there is no change to the company’s production outlook for 2019.