Officials of the Venezuelan Government and Chinese company China International Trust and Investment Corp (CITIC) signed an agreement to develop the Las Cristinas gold mine, touted as one of the world's great undeveloped gold deposits.
Officials of the Venezuelan Government and Chinese company China International Trust and Investment Corp (CITIC) have over the weekend signed the agreement to develop the Las Cristinas gold mine, touted as one of the world's great undeveloped gold deposits.
Located in the southern Bolivar state, the mine reportedly holds about 17 million ounces of the safe haven precious yellow metal gold.
Although representatives of both groups did not provide financial details, both said the agreement covers engineering, construction and processing of the gold and copper, as well as production of a map of mineral deposits in Venezeula.
"It's a five-year project that, in addition to quantification and certification, will involve creating a database that currently doesn't exist in our country," Oil and Mines Minister Rafael Ramirez said.
The Las Cristinas gold project used to be operated by Rusoro Mining. But the mining firm was reported to encounter much difficulty advancing the gold mine due to bureaucratic, political and financing issues. Venezuela eventually cancelled in 2011 the permit it gave to the Russian-Canadian miner.
China, the world's largest producer of the safe haven precious yellow metal gold, is Venezuela's biggest creditor, advancing more than $36 billion in loans to the Chavez government. In turn, the Latin American nation pays China with increased oil shipments of more than 400,000 barrels of oil a day.
The Las Cristinas gold project, according to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is "one of the biggest reservoirs of gold that exists - not only in Venezuela, not only in Latin America, but in the world."
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