Venezuela misses payout to Spokane gold junior

President Nicolás Maduro. Image: José Leonardo Riera

In November, Gold Reserve (OTCMKTS:GDRZF, CVE:GRZ) and Venezuela agreed to rework the terms of a $770 million settlement relating to the seizure of the company’s Las Brisas gold-copper mine in 2008.

Under the new deal, the initial payment by the South America nation battling a severe economic crisis, was reduced to $300m from the $600m in the agreement signed in February. At the time Gold Reserve said that “the aggregate payments to be made by Venezuela have not changed and the payments will be completed seven months earlier than originally contemplated.”

First payment was pushed out to the end of November, but at the beginning of December, the Spokane, Washington-based company gave the Venezuela government another two weeks to come up with the money.

Late President Hugo Chavez revoked the permit in 2009 after the firm had invested more than $300 million

But now it appears Gold Reserve may have to wait a little while longer. The company’s latest announcement dated December 16 says the $300 million “is expected to be  deposited in the Company’s bank accounts in the next few days.”

Gold Reserve owns 45% and Venezuela 55% of the mixed company and following a number of meetings of the board of directors and Venezuela’s mines ministry in Caracas the plan is to “immediately initiate the development plan of the mine activities needed to commence construction as soon as possible.”

Gold Reserve began work on the Las Brisas gold and copper project in 1992, but late President Hugo Chavez revoked the permit in 2009 after the firm had invested more than $300 million.

According to a March 2008 technical report the placer and veins deposit hosts proven and probable reserves of 630,000 tonnes of copper and 10.2 million ounces of gold (483m tonnes grading 0.13% copper and 0.66g/t gold).

Gold Reserve (OTCMKTS:GDRZF) is worth $373m on New York’s over the counter market following a 68% jump in value this year. Gold was last trading at $1,133 per ounce, up 7% year to date.

Several other international companies are still seeking compensation for projects expropriated and halted by the socialist administration in recent years.

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