MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Venezuela: Crystallex Out

Published by MAC on 2005-09-26

Venezuela: Crystallex Out

26th September 2005

Councilman and former Mayor of Sifontes municipality, Carlos Chancelor, demanded the immediate cease of the contract that Corporación Venezolana de Guayana (CVG) signed with Crystallex to operate Las Cristinas gold deposit.

Chancelor, who belongs to the leftist party La Causa R, denounced that Crystallex breached the contract for the mine remains idle. He also accused the Canadian company of having established "a terrorist regime that utilizes a private security corps that prosecutes, threats and abuses the 3.000 Venezuelan miners that traditionally have worked in the area".

This situation caused the protest that took place weeks ago, when the miners blocked the highway to Brazil to claim their rights. "Graver still" added the councilman, "is that Venezuelan authorities have sided with the Canadian company".

"Crystallex counts on the total support of the armed forces, the judiciary, the executive, the governorship of Bolivar state and the mayoralty of Sifontes" he denounced. The proof of this claim is the legal process against him and four other leaders (the latter from Chavez's ruling party MVR) due to the protests.

Chancelor proposed "to organize the people in a highly productive social enterprise to exploit Las Cristinas gold deposit, with an environmentally sustainable project, government financing and active participation of miners". He also requested the legalization of all small-scale mining areas.

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