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In next week's exciting chapter of the Las Cristinas Saga, does Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz jump off the cliff's edge?

By       Message Roy S. Carson       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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VHeadline editor Roy S. Carson writes: I guess I was a trifle premature on Thursday, November 6 when I postscripted an article Phew! Another sweaty day in Caracas, Venezuela! What tremors will Friday bring... with "Do we wait for bated breath to discover what fantasies Reuters. Bloomberg, Dow-Jones will (mis) construe from THAT!"

Roll on a week ... and Bloomberg is back at it again with headlined news out of London-England Rusoro Says It Is 'Preferred Partner' for Gold Mine quoting Rusoro CEO Andre Agapov as saying his company is well placed to grow in Venezuela because it already has a mining joint venture with the government of President Hugo Chavez.

A hop skip and a jump by Bloomberg and Agapov is quoted as saying Rusoro has "experience and a lot of common ground with the Venezuelan government" and HE (Agapov) considers Rusoro to be "a preferred partner'' and that "Las Cristinas provides serious potential.''

Bloomberg (helpfully?) fills-in (pads-out) the details, in the absence of any other qualified corroboration, that Las Cristinas -- which contains about 21 million ounces of gold --has been paralyzed for more than four years while Toronto-based Crystallex waited for environmental permits to start development. Bloomberg then (helpfully?) adds, again, that the Mining and Basic Industries Ministry (i.e. Venezuela's Basic Industries & Mining Ministry-MIBAM) said earlier this month that it will seize control of the project as the government strengthens its grip on the nation's economy.

Crystallex, Gold Reserve, Mibam and other key actors in the continuing Las Cristinas Soap Opera were all (unsurprisingly) unavailable for comment but (helpful?) Bloomberg regurgitates the fact that Crystallex was awarded a 20-year permit to develop Las Cristinas in 2002, and that in an official press release yesterday, Thursday, it had said that it had received no notification from the (Venezuelan) government regarding a change in control of the project.

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That status, as far as VHeadline has been able to ascertain, remains unchanged!

Mr. Agapov, on the phone from London, does concede to Bloomberg that "the negative publicity generated by permitting delays has hurt Rusoro and other companies operating in Venezuela" ... but he blames the delays on Crystallex and Gold Reserve for a supposed failure (?) to find common ground ... "otherwise they would have gotten their permit a long time ago!''

Agapov assures Bloomberg that the delay "is causing us (Rusoro) problems ... ? ... people are losing faith ... I'm willing to make it my problem and solve the situation.'' WHOOPEE!

Bloomberg: Rodolfo Sanz, Venezuela's minister of basic industries and mining (they got it the right way round this time!) STILL wasn't immediately available to comment...

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Plowing on through the fog generated over the last week by volumes of silence from the Venezuelan government on the issue, Agapov confides to Bloomber that Las Brisas de Cuyuni is a "less exciting potential'' to Rusoro than Las Cristinas and that the company's "Russian directors and shareholders stand to benefit from strong ties between Chavez and the Russian government!"

Meanwhile, clouding the issue even further, Bloomberg drags South African Gold Fields into the saga recounting that it -- the world's fourth-largest gold producer -- sold its Venezuelan assets to Rusoro last year after it couldn't get operating licenses and that Rusoro got its permits soon after the acquisition was completed...

Wait for it ... Gold Fields (which ALSO wasn't available to comment) had told Agapov who told Bloomberg that it (Gold Fields) "may be called on to technically and financially assist" IF Rusoro is awarded concessions near the community of Kilometer 88 in Bolivar state."

FOOTNOTE: Wasn't there something earlier in a Venezuelan government statement to the effect that "concessions" are no longer in the Venezuelan government's mining dictionary ... and wasn't that the reason why Crystallex conceded its "concession" to Las Cristinas in 2002 for a "cast iron mine operating contract" ... and wasn't that also a huge sticking point in the Venezuela-Gold Reserve debacle on GRZ's insistence that it has a "concession" at Las Brisas de Guyuni?

YUP! They do indeed speak Spanish in Venezuela, but with all these dictionaries floating around, could someone please help me with a Thesaurus?

In next week's exciting chapter of "the Las Cristinas Saga":

Does Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz jump off the cliff's edge?

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Does Environment Minister Yubiri Ortega de Carrizalez sign up for the Miss Venezuela 2009 pageant

Does President Hugo Chavez Frias finally become ruller of the

Watch this space...

Roy S. Carson


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.



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Roy S. Carson is veteran foreign correspondent (45+ years in the business) currently editor & publisher of VHeadline Venezuela reporting on news & views from and about Venezuela in South America -- available for interviews -- call Houston (more...)

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