La empresa Gold Reserve informó que Venezuela había confiscado instalaciones de su mina Brisas del Cuyuní, con lo que se profundizaría disputa con el Gobierno de Hugo Chávez. El conflicto estaría afectando seriamente la cotización de sus acciones.
Aristimuño Herrera & Asociados/Reuters
Los derechos sobre la mayor parte de los depósitos de la empresa canadiense, que cotiza en la Bolsa de Toronto, fueron embargados por el Gobierno a comienzos de este año, y Gold Reserve presentó la semana pasada un pedido de arbitraje internacional, con la intención de recuperar una compensación por miles de millones de dólares en daños.
La conducta de Gold desató una reacción en la zona donde está ubicado el desarrollo aurífero, Guayana, al sufrir sus instalaciones y predios intentos de toma los últimos días por parte, según la empresa canadiense, de personal ligado a la empresa minera estatal venezolana, Minerven.
Este martes, la compañía minera de capital canadiense, informó que funcionarios llegaron a las instalaciones de su proyecto minero aurífero Brisas del Cuyuní, para entregar una notificación sobre el embargo de la propiedad por parte del Gobierno y que estas personas tomaron posesión física de las mismas.
Las acciones de Gold Reserve caían más de 13 por ciento, ubicándose en 1,03 dólares canadienses en la Bolsa de Toronto.
Gold habría intentado hacer ver al gobierno venezolano la conveniencia de permitirle desarrollar íntegramente el proyecto Brisas del Cuyuní, del cual esperaba resultados satisfactorios en un plazo máximimo de tres años.
Tratándose de un proyecto a mediano plazo, la intención de Gold era aprovechar al máximo una coyuntura como la presente, caracterizada por altos precios del oro y cuya estela seguramente se dejaría sentir, todavía, justo cuando el proyecto alcanzara su madurez.
Gold ha hecho gala, hasta el momento y para defender sus derechos, de una concesión negociada con el Estado venezolano para el desarrollo del proyecto de minería aurífera Brisas del Cuyuní, en el sureste venezolano.
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Published by Mineweb ( Online newspaper about mining) POLITICAL ECONOMY ANALYSIS Las Brisas gold project becomes yet another casualty of Chavez ‘socialist vision'
It costs billions to fuel Hugo Chavez's socialist global vision, some of which comes from Venezuelan government expropriation of natural resources including gold mining projects funded by western foreign investors.
Author: Dorothy Kosich Posted: Wednesday , 28 Oct 2009 RENO, NV -
When the now defunct major gold company Placer Dome packed its bags sold its Kilometer 88 mining district holdings and left Venezuela forever in 2001, international mining companies and their investors should have taken notice of the perils of foreign investment in Venezuela.
As Spokane-based Gold Reserve announced Tuesday that its Brisas property had been officially seized by the Venezuelan Government, the junior miner joined the legion of foreign companies-representing everything from farms to parking lots to food staples to utilities to steel to oil to mining properties-whose facilities dot the Venezuelan landscape and help financially support
President Hugo Chavez's "socialist vision."
Over the years Gold Reserve President Doug Belanger had made a painstaking effort to consistently communicate with and work in harmony with the Chavez Administration and the various government bureaucracies involved in the regulation of the gold-rich Kilometer 88 Mining District in southern Venezuela. Neighbor Crystallex also engaged in a similar painstaking effort concerning its Las Cristinas gold project, as did Hecla Mining for its La Camorra operations in the region. However, the reality Chavez faces is that it takes money to fund the programs and dole out the individual favors or gifts that keep Venezuelan voters loyal enough to keep him in power. It also takes billions of dollars, which can't be entirely supplied by the domestic oil industry, to help subsidize foreign governments who shares Chavez's socialist world vision.
Venezuela's former representative to Transparency International identified three major areas of corruption that have emerged in the Chavez Administration: grand corruption derived from major policy decisions; bureaucratic corruption; and systemic corruption taking place between government and the private sector.
In the name of socialism, the Chavez Administration has expropriated billions of dollars in foreign-owned and even domestically owned assets, which help fuel his domestic and international political agenda. The /Latin American Herald Tribune/ estimated that Venezuela's unsettled compensation claims from various forms of Chavez Administration expropriations now total at least US$15 billion.
Despite the seizure of its neighbor's mineral reserves and facilities, Crystallex insisted Tuesday the company is "in possession and control of the Las Cristinas project" and has been since it was awarded the concession by the Chavez Government in 2002.
Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela in December 1998, promising to fight poverty and social exclusion and to eliminate corruption. However, it is feared that the years of Chavez's of presidency may have unleashed the highest levels of government corruption ever in a nation with a history of political and financial corruption.
In June 2008 U.S. silver miner Hecla Mining was fortunate enough to get compensation to the tune of $25 million in cash and stock for its La Camorra gold unit from new owner Rusoro Mining as Hecla said goodbye to Venezuela. Rusoro's Russian ties are viewed more favorably by the Chavez Administration, which is working to strengthen partnerships with Russia.
Crystallex Vice President Richard Marshall told /Mineweb/ Tuesday in an e-mail that the company "is seeking a prudent resolution/solution to the Las Cristinas dispute. On November 28, 2008, Crystallex delivered a letter to the Government of Venezuela notifying it of the existence of a dispute between Crystallex and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Venezuela for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.
If the negotiations and discussions between the parties prove unsuccessful, Marshall said, "Crystallex believes in would have a significant claim for compensation and damages through the ICSID (The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes)."
In spite of efforts by western mining companies, such as Gold Reserve, to seek international arbitration or take legal action, Venezuela's nationalization track record is not good in terms of compensating foreign companies for their losses. Although the Chavez Government has successfully navigated the takeovers of the national phone company and the utilities sector, the government has yet to compensate other industrial sectors such as steel, cement and aluminum.
A popular theory in western political circles is that a chunk of Venezuela's record oil income may be going directly into Chavez's pockets. Chavez is a master of keeping the Venezuelan voters loyal in a nation where poverty and social exclusion remain. He also engages in expenditures and promises made to foreign leaders and their countries in order to secure their political loyalty.
Over the past decade Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay have expelled Chavez's ambassadors for interfering in their internal politics. *2. Published by Reuters-canada* GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION Venezuelan government confiscates Gold Reserve's Brisas property Shares drop 15% on the news Posted: Tuesday , 27 Oct 2009 TORONTO (Reuters) - Gold Reserve (GRZ.TO
Tuesday the Venezuelan government had seized control of its Brisas gold property, deepening a dispute between the miner and Hugo Chavez's government, and pulling the company's shares down 15%.
The Toronto-listed company's rights to much of the deposit were taken away by the government earlier this year, and Gold Reserve filed for international arbitration last week, seeking to recoup billions of dollars in damages.
It said government personnel arrived at Brisas onMonday to deliver notification of the government's takeover of the property and to take physical possession of it.
Shares of Gold Reserve were down 18 Canadian cents at C$1.01 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Cameron French http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=cameron.french&>; Editing by Frank McGurty) © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved