Amid the flurry of tweetnouncements coming out of Nicolás Maduro’s trip to China was this lovely tidbit, announcing that it’s the Chinese who will get commercial gold production going at the enormous Las Cristinas mine, by some accounts, one of the largest untapped gold mines in the world. Let’s see, by my reckoning that makes them the TENTH concession holder for the mine in its rocambolesque 50 year history…
Dot Culver-Lemon Ramon Torres Inversora Mael PlacerDome Vanessa Ventures Gold Reserve Crystallex Rusoro PDVSA
Like I wrote way back when, it’s not that we’ve been screwing this one up since the Leoni administration, we’ve just spent 49 years discovering nine different ways of exploiting Las Cristinas that won’t work.
The only question now is if PDVSA will file an arbitration claim over losing the concession, which would make them the fourth claimant suing over the same, never-yet-exploited mine.
It’s easy to make fun – too easy for me to pass up, at any rate – but early indications are that Maduro’s having some success out there. The additional $5 bn. loan from China Development Bank in particular is going to buy these guys some badly needed breathing room.
Bet they’re glad, too: failure to sign some fat deals out there would likely have seen him end up grovelling to the IMF, which is what passes for a Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement for him these days. (Can’t imagine that gave the Chinese any leverage to use in negotiating terms for these deals…can you?)