In an exclusive interview in London, Monday, Agapov told me that, while he's "somewhat disappointed" that his Vancouver (Canada) based mining company, Rusoro Mining Ltd., has been stymied in its efforts to achieve a corporate takeover of Gold Reserve in last week's court decision, it's simply a further milestone in the ultimate destiny of Las Brisas which, like its neighbor Las Cristinas (as already stated by a former Crystallex general manager) doesn't stand a "cat in hell's chance" of being given EIS clearance to mine gold at either property.
One is certainly given a sense that Agapov is more than simply elated in the news of Chavez' four percentage point referendum win and that he fully expects the euphoria (at least on the Chavez side of the political fence) to bubble for a few weeks until Chavez' top ministerial teams get down to decisive actions with regard to Venezuela's gold mining and other economic sectors in the President's "broader picture" of 21st century socialist reform in which the Agapov Group's Rusoro is taking a key role in 50/50 joint venture partnership with the government-owned Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) gold mining subsidiary, CVG-Minerven.
Agapov Group CEO Andre Agapov waits patiently in London for
Venezuelan "reality" to kick in with his Canadian mining colleagues
The socialist VenRus CA joint venture was set up last November and is mooted to become the primary focus on gold mining under a National Mining Corporation which will cover all other aspects of prospecting for and exploitation of Venezuela's abundance of mineral resources ranging from coal through massive quantities of iron and bauxite (aluminum) to gold, silver, emeralds, diamonds and other precious stones. Agapov says the key to his group's successes in Venezuela has been "communication, communication, communication" working hand-in-hand with government officials through the arduous task of -- finally -- bringing a high degree of regulation to the country's mining sector after many decades of Wild West abandonment and internecine, guerrilla warfare among contending foreign exploiters of Venezuela's vast riches.
Perhaps because -- as Russians -- Agapov and his father, Vladimir, are more naturally unsullied by their exposure to 'Gringo'-style mindsets with regard to Venezuela and Venezuelans, Andre Agapov says the contacts they have forged between the Venezuelan and Russian governments is more tenable and productive than anything that his fellow Canadian miners have been able to achieve. In fact, on the back of Sunday's referendum win, he says that a top-level Russian-Venezuelan investment forum slated for mid-March has been put back a month or two to accommodate a "tremendous flow" of new business proposals and investments between Caracas and Moscow that will come to fruition around the end of May when President Hugo Chavez is to pay yet another visit to Russia to boost bilaterial relations.
That several months' window of opportunity gives Agapov, Rusoro and the VenRus joint venture ample leeway to consolidate and develop a series of other holdings in southern Bolivar State while they simply wait for nature to take its course with regard to Gold Reserve and Crystallex International.
Certainly, if leaks from both Toronto and Caracas are to be believed, Crystallex appears to have suffered serious problems in its lock-down on legal and management structures that are undeniably seen by central government as too closely related to Enrique Tejera Paris who had ended his diplomatic career when, as Venezuela's ambassador to Spain, he had resigned to join the Crystallex International executive board as well as, for a while, to become chairman of its Venezuelan subsidiary.
There's no denying that with Chavez firmly in the Venezuelan government driver's seat for the foreseeable future -- perhaps past 2012 -- that anyone in opposition to President Hugo Chavez Frias' ambitions for a Bolivarian socialist-style Venezuela will find themselves on a hiding to nothing!
Roy S. Carson