British Gold Mining Company Rep Shotadmin
Assailants in Kyrgyzstan’s capital shot and wounded a representative of a British gold-mining company, embroiled in a dispute over rights to a gold deposit in the ex-Soviet republic, an official said.
Several people ambushed British citizen Sean Daley, who represents London-based Oxus Gold PLC, late Thursday night near his home in Bishkek, said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Aida Bakirova. Police are looking for the attackers.
She said Daley was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the abdomen and had surgery, but remained in a serious condition.
She said police believed the shooting was likely motivated by “unknown persons’” enmity toward Daley. His bodyguard told police he’d heard three shots.
Daley’s mother-in-law, Elena Bayalinova, alleged the attack was linked to his professional activity. She said he’d received anonymous threats, and hired bodyguards three weeks ago. She didn’t elaborate on the alleged threats.
Oxus Gold has been battling since 2004 to reverse a government decision stripping its license to work the Jerooy gold deposit in northern Kyrgyzstan. The decision was based on the company’s alleged failure to meet contractual commitments and its alleged delay in starting commercial gold production at Jerooy.
Oxus Gold lost a legal case it brought against the government, accusing it of illegal license withdrawal.
In May, Oxus Gold announced a new business offer to the Kyrgyz government. It agreed to increase the government’s share in the Jerooy project from 33.3 percent to 50 percent, and guaranteed it would begin commercial production there within six months after resuming operations.
It also pledged an annual US$3 million (euro2.3 million) social package that would go to the budget for the country’s northern region of Talas.
The Jerooy field contains an estimated 74 tons of gold.
The impoverished Central Asian nation has been roiled by political instability and deteriorating public security since the March 2005 ouster of the longtime president Askar Akayev.