Kumtor is one of the largest gold mines in Central Asia owned by a Western-based company, having produced more than 13.2 million ounces of gold between 1997 and the end of 2020.
- Although the Kumtor area has a history of intermittent exploration dating back to the late 1920s, the actual discovery of the deposit was made in the summer of 1978. Intensive exploration, adit sampling, drilling and geological interpretation work took place between 1979 and 1989, culminating in an initial reserve statement issued by the USSR State Committee on Reserves in March 1990.
- In 1992, Cameco and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic entered into an agreement to evaluate and develop the Kumtor gold deposit. Cameco acquired a one-third interest in Kumtor Gold Company (KGC) from the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, with Kyrgyzaltyn (a joint-stock company wholly owned by the Kyrgyz Republic) holding the remaining two-thirds interest. Kumtor Operating Company (KOC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cameco Gold International (CGI), acted as operator of the mine for which it received a management fee.
- KOC retained Kilborn Western Inc. (presently SNC Lavalin) to prepare a feasibility study of the Kumtor deposit, which was submitted in November 1993. Construction and development began in 1994 and was completed in early 1997 at a cost of about US$450 million.
- Commercial production began in the second quarter of 1997 and more than 502,000 ounces were produced that year.
- On April 24, 2009 Centerra negotiated a New Terms Agreement between Centerra, the government of the Krygyz Republic and Cameco Corporation, this Agreement was signed in June 2009, and Centerra announced that as part of the closing, it issued from treasury 18,232,615 common shares of Centerra to the government of the Kyrgyz Republic, which brought the total shares issued and outstanding for Centerra to 234,772,566. Cameco also agreed to transfer to the government of the Kyrgyz Republic between 14.1 and 25.3 million common shares of Centerra.
- On December 8, 2009, Cameco announced it intended to dispose of all its 113,918,472 common shares of Centerra by selling 88,618,472 common shares of Centerra through a syndicate of underwriters led by CIBC World Markets Inc. and RBC Capital Markets, in an agreement entered in with a syndicate of underwriters as a bought deal. Concurrently with the closing of this offering it would also transfer 25,300,000 common shares of Centerra to Kyrgyzaltyn JSC.
- On December 30, 2009, Cameco completed its sale of Centerra's shares in a public offering of 88,618,472 common shares of Centerra at a price of C$10.25 per share, for net proceeds of approximately $872 million. At the same time Cameco transferred 25,300,000 common shares of Centerra to Kyrgyzaltyn JSC pursuant to the Agreement on New Terms of April 24, 2009. Upon completion of closing the public offering and share transfer to Kyrgyzaltyn JSC, Cameco disposed of its entire interest in Centerra.
- In 2020 Kumtor produced over 556,000 ounces of gold.
- Between 1997 and the end of 2020 Kumtor produced more than 13.2 million ounces of gold.