Venezuela’s Chavez To Nationalize Gold Industry

News Americas, CARACAS, Venezuela, Thurs. Aug. 18, 2011: Venezuela’s gold industry will be nationalized to boost the country’s reserves.

That’s the word from President Hugo Chavez. The biggest gold miner is Rusoro, a Canadian-listed company controlled by the Russian Agapov family.

The move comes after Rusoro and others complained that Caracas prevents them from selling enough gold abroad as gold hit a new all-time high of $1,795 (£1,084) an ounce.

“The area is run by the mafia,” Chavez, who returned to the country from chemo treatment in Cuba, said on state television Wednesday. “We’re going to nationalize gold. We can’t keep allowing them to take it away. We are going to nationalize the gold and we are going to convert it, among other things, into international reserves because gold continues to increase in value.”

Last year Venezuela raised the limit on gold exports from 30 percent to 50 percent of output, with the rest to be sold to the country’s central bank.