Representatives of the youth NGOs and the Swiss organization familiarized themselves with the work of the country’s largest mining company, and visited the industrial facilities of the Kumtor Operating Company (KOC) and met with staff members of the Company. During the visit, they learned more about the process of mining and ore processing, of specific interest were the company’s environmental management and environmental monitoring procedures and protocols.
Christian Steiner, Country Director of Helvetas remarked: “It was a very interesting visit for us. I could see, not only all the stages of the gold production process, and operations in the field, but also we got access to environmental reports, assessments and closure plans, and all my questions were answered openly and in detail by specialists of the Company. My understanding is that KOC is taking responsible action to minimize its ecological footprint and is probably setting some standards of best practices for the industry.”
Kumtor was one of the first companies in the country, to join the initiative of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Publishing reports on its operational and financial performance, reporting on environmental events undertaken by the Company and promoting sustainable development projects, Kumtor demonstrates its commitment to openness. Visits of the public, NGOs and other stakeholders to the mine site is a part of transparent operations of the Company, that demonstrate that the Company has been operating in accordance with international environmental and industrial safety standards.
Michael Fischer, President of Kumtor Operating Company, said: “The Company always welcomes visitors, and provides the opportunity for the public to visit the mine and see how the Company actually works to extract gold at the Kumtor deposit. During these visits, representatives of interested parties can see the mine site is using the best equipment, advanced technology and appropriate, responsible environmental management practices that are applied”.
Helvetas – is the first Swiss private non-profit development organization, founded in 1955, the association is supported by 43,000 members and 40,000 regular private sponsors. It actively works through its 16 program offices abroad to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged people in 20 partner countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In Kyrgyzstan, Helvetas started its activities in November 1994