VenezuelaPublished by MAC on 2006-05-24
Venezuela to renegotiate all mining agreements
24th May 2006
In a statement, Mining Minister Victor Alvarez said "government control of these areas is of crucial strategic interest" to the administration of President Hugo Chavez.
"We will intensify the review of all contracts and concessions ... so the state can assume total control" under a forthcoming law that will be drafted by Venezuela's National Assembly, Alvarez added.
Lawmakers allied with Chavez hold all 167 seats in the assembly, guaranteeing approval of the proposed law.
Studies completed by the mining ministry show that 71.1 percent of the 760 mining projects in this mineral-rich South American country are considered large mining holdings, many of them controlled by private companies from Venezuela, Russia, Canada and Holland, Alvarez said.
"Over the years, holders of these areas, have done absolutely nothing," he said.
Chavez, a nationalist who believes in strong state intervention in the economy, has warned that companies that control mines considered to be idle will lose their place in the mining industry.