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Venezuela's gold reserves total USD 200 billion A total 57 petrochemical projects were announced aimed at reducing rentierism

Venezuela's gold reserves total USD 200 billion

A total 57 petrochemical projects were announced aimed at reducing rentierism

There is interest in investing 2 billion USD in the mining sector (AFP)
Saturday January 09, 2016  12:00 AM
The People's Minister of Petroleum and Mining and President of Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (Pdvsa) Eulogio Del Pino, estimates that the country's gold reserves of 7,000 metric tons are worth over USD 200 billion at current prices, and that petrochemical developments, with 57 shelf-ready projects, would generate some 600,000 direct jobs.

According to Del Pino, the enactment of the Organic Law that Reserves to the State the Exploration and Exploitation of Gold and Strategic Minerals and the Reform of the Law for the Development of Petrochemical Activities are key to further social and economic development of the country and promote new sources of foreign exchange curbing dependence on oil revenue.

Del Pino said on the 'Conexión Global' (Global Connection) show broadcast by TeleSur that "gas as feedstock is a fundamental requirement of the petrochemical industry and Venezuela has large gas reserves. The Perla field, in the Gulf of Venezuela - currently among the top five gas developments in the world - produces 500 million cubic feet of gas per day. The petrochemical industry generates a large number of jobs; its technology is moderate and of low financial risk, but requires high infrastructure investment. Private investment is, therefore, very important."

Del Pino said that 57 projects have been identified and that there are seven transforming centers in the country that can be developed. The petrochemical industry is closely related to the agricultural foodstuffs industry, but plastics used in medical devices such as syringes can also be produced.

"The mining arch could possibly contain the largest reserves in Latin America and when the certification of resources is completed, it could become the largest in the world," added the minister of Petroleum and Mining.

"With this law a production link between gas and petrochemistry is foreseen," the minister said.

The mining sector

Del Pino also called on to the private sector to participate in the Mining Development Plan 2016-2018, emphasizing that the Magna Reserve Mining Project will be larger than the "Hugo Chavez" Orinoco Oil Belt. The project aims to promote the development of joint ventures between private capital and the Venezuelan government.

The idea is to develop a mining arch that will follow the successful model implemented in the Orinoco Oil Belt. In the area there are already small developments from artisanal miners who are called upon to join this potential plan so that they are formalized, says a press release issued by the Venezuelan Ministry of Petroleum and Mining.

"We are going to develop this mining arch with the vision that our Commander Hugo Chávez had." The rationale behind these legal instruments is to attract investment into the country in two areas where Venezuela offers significant competitive and strategic advantages at global level, and to provide alternative sources of foreign exchange to the country. "This law (...) establishes that developments be granted for other minerals such as diamonds and coltan. There are studies indicating that these minerals exist in the area, but we have not conducted an official certification. We'll start working on that with the approval of this legal instrument," said Del Pino. 

Del Pino pointed out that in this region there are potential reserves in the order of 7,000 tons of gold, equivalent to reserves for 70 years. He added that the Venezuelan Mining Corporation (Minerven) is already operating in this part of the country. He said that an international mining sector is very interested in bringing investments. "We are talking about amounts that exceed 2 billion USD," and he added that there is the potential to increase production to 20 metric tons per year.

Translated by Sancho Araujo

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