Spokane Journal of Business

Permits secured for Gold Reserve project

Site work to clear way for big Venezuelan mine

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Gold Reserve Inc., a mining company incorporated in Canada with executive offices in downtown Spokane, has received the permit to begin construction activities at a gold, copper, and silver mining project in southeast Venezuela in conjunction with the Venezuelan government.

The permit will allow the jointly owned company, Empresa Mixta Ecosocialista Siembra Minera, to clear the site, construct a temporary camp and warehouse facilities, begin drilling, construct access roads, and open the quarry for construction aggregates, according Gold Reserve’s May 10 press release.

Gold Reserve expects to request additional permits and authorizations required to continue development during the early work stage.

Company President Douglas Belanger says the temporary camp initially will host about 4,000 employees until the mine is established on the nearly 47,000-acre site. Once the mine is operating about 2,000 permanent employees will remain there.

“It’s a massive project,” Belanger says. “It’ll be one of the biggest projects in the world. This’ll rank in the top five gold producers on the planet.”

Gold Reserve owns 45 percent of the Siembra Minera mine; Venezuela owns the majority 55 percent. 

Recent estimates indicate that the mining operation could produce more than $20 billion in revenues for the jointly owned company in after-tax profits over a 45-year lifespan.

Belanger says the mixed company still needs a few more permits and approvals from the Venezuelan Ministry of the Environment before mining operations can begin in earnest.

Gold Reserve, Belanger says, “is very pleased with the proactive approach to support the project and fast-track the permitting process while respecting the environmental and mining laws of Venezuela.”

As previously reported in the Journal, the Venezuelan government expropriated the Siembra Minera mine in 2008. Gold Reserve, which said it had invested $300 million in the project, sued the government for $2.3 billion, and in 2012, the company received an international judgement in its favor for more than $700 million against Venezuela. The country eventually agreed to pay the judicial award plus accrued interest, to buy Gold Reserve’s mining data for $240 million, and to form the jointly owned company with Gold Reserve.

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the health care industry. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys traveling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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