Venezuelan President Chavez moves to nationalize gold mines
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans Wednesday to nationalize the country's gold mines, DPA repored.
"We have one of the largest gold reserves. That is still in anarchy, and it is a great source of wealth for the south (of Venezuela), with gold, precious stones, coltan, diamonds," he said. "We are going to nationalize gold and turn it into foreign exchange reserves, because the value of gold continues to rise."
He said the proposed law will reserve for the government any exploration and exploitation in gold mines, among other resources.
Venezuela last year announced plans to increase the country's annual gold production to 15 tones by 2012.
A regulation in place since 2009 says that no more than 30 per cent of the gold mined in Venezuela can be exported. Chavez charged that the sector is dominated by smuggling "mafias."