Venezuela has formed a joint venture with a Russian company to operate the massive Las Cristinas gold mine, President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday, adding it would begin production in 2009.
Canadian junior miner Crystallex waited in vain for years for an environmental permit allowing it to operate the mine, and recently complained that the denial of the permit could lead it to take legal action against the OPEC nation. The Las Cristinas gold mine is owned by Venezuelan state mining consortium CVG.
“In 2008 we created the joint venture Venrus with Russia, a Russian company and a Venezuelan company, an joint venture for the Las Cristinas fields,” Chavez said during a televised address to Congress.
Venezuela’s mining minister Rodolfo Sanz told a Russian delegation last year that the socialist government wanted to create a joint venture between Rusoro, a Canadian-based company with Russian capital, to operate Las Cristinas. Sanz also offered Rusoro access to the Brisas mine, operated by Canadian junior miner Gold Reserves Rusoro has since launched a hostile takeover bid for control of Gold Reserves. (Reuters)