Thursday, March 7th 11:58 AM IST

Venezuela's Gold nationalization after Hugo Chavez

# Venezuela gold  # Hugo Chavez  # gold nationalization  

Some analysts accused that Venezuela's gold nationalization law was not written with the aim of developing a mining policy but rather with a political concept of mining.

CARACAS(BullionStreet): What would happened to Venezuela's gold nationalization in the post Chvez era is a multi million dollar question.

In September 2011, Chavez passed a law nationalizing all gold mining activity in the country and requiring private sector gold mining companies to form JVs with the state as the majority partner.

The untimely death of Hugo Chavez on Tuesday also raised many other questions as answers for the local mining industry, which was not immune to Chavez's penchant for nationalization.

Venezuela is now expected to hold presidential elections and the candidate that analysts see as likely to win is vice president Nicolas Maduro, who was verbally appointed by Chavez as his successor.

Analysts said Maduro is unlikely to change any of his predecessor's policies in the short term.

With resource nationalism topping the list of mining companies' risk factors, and Venezuela recently ranked as the least attractive jurisdiction in Latin America for mining investment by the Fraser Institute, the future of its mining industry looks bleak.

Some analysts accused that Venezuela's gold nationalization law was not written with the aim of developing a mining policy but rather with a political concept of mining.

International companies were not the only ones to suffer from Chavez's nationalization plans. Local, small scale miners also protested against the new gold law, arguing it to be unconstitutional.

Communities brought a petition to the supreme court requesting the annulment of the law, claiming that it does not recognize the indigenous communities, which were never consulted. The outcome of the case is pending.

Venezuela's mining sector is not aware of how much gold is really being produced in the country, the president of the mining and metallurgical industry association (AIMM), Jorge Roig, said

"The truth is Venezuelan gold production currently lacks transparency. Much of what's produced ends up being smuggled out of the country," Roig said.

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