Venezuela has hit headlines for a variety or reasons in recent years, none of which involved mining.
For better or worse, the country is now trying to change that, seeking new international investments and partnerships and releasing some fantastic exploration data from their Orinoco River mining district. Our reporter Liam Hardy (LH) met with Franklin Ramirez Araque (FRA), Venezuelan vice-minister for Exploration and Ecological Mining Investment at this year’s Mining Indaba18 in Cape town and discussed his goals for the future and hopes for his country:
LH: Good afternoon Minister, could you tell us about your major goals for Venezuela in 2018:
FRA: Yes of course, we are focusing on expansion and diversification of Venezuelan investment. Historically we are an oil focused power, but we’re now looking to use the full potential of our county’s mineral resources. We are hear in South Africa at Indaba to show potential of business mining and to show the truth of what is happening in Venezuela, the reality, to attract foreign investments into Venezuela and expand the mining sector in 2018.
LH: I think it’s important and interesting to hear about your mining plans, there has been very limited press coverage at all in Europe regarding Venezuela, so, most people are unaware of the changes in your country.
FRA: We understand the international economic challenges that Venezuela faces. Venezuelan people are used to working hard, being entrepreneurial in big projects and developing large opportunities for themselves and the world. As a government we are offering guarantees and support for projects and investments that help to support our social responsibilities to Venezuelan people and those that can improve the lives of the Venezuelan people.
LH: What are the most exciting projects for us to watch in venezuela right now?
FRA: As a government we have invested into basic exploration and identified a strategic area, full of important minerals called the Orinoco mining belt. the belt follows the Orinoco river through the centre of the country. We around 111,000 square km available for licencing and projects. we have found several strategic minerals including gold, diamonds, bauxite, coltan and Iron.
LH: Are there any other interesting areas?
FRA: Yes, of course, the rest of country has mineral deposits too, but our focus is currently in the Orinoco, with strict government policies to guarantee company investments and also preserve, protect and repair the environment so, there is no ecological damage. We have big expectations from what we’ve seen there in the area and we’re working to certify reserves of gold and diamonds, as well as working as part of the Kimberly process through agreements with friendly countries.
We are now inviting South African and international investors to come and participate, the world must know the potential and our strategic plans to develop and aid the people of Venezuela. Venezuela is aiming to create the best strategic mineral resource partnerships worldwide for the people of Venezuala, to reinvest and return the benefits for all.
LH: thank you for your time minister, we look forward to seeing how the projects in the Orinoco progress and wish Venezuela good luck!
Liam’s thoughts: Venezuela has had a tough time these last few years, many skilled people have chosen to leave, many have suffered and many have celebrated, there is still controversy across the country, but, as with all regions, it needs industry, it needs an income, and most importantly, its people need work and development. Now we have a new opportunity to explore in Venezuela, those who go digging may come out very well off indeed, those who’re considering cryptocurrency investments, might find a very willing partner. I personally think its a great time to take a look and see what the country are offering. check out the website and related publications and, see what you think!
Best places to have a look if you’d like to find out more:
Website – contains a mining catalogue, geological information and potential opportunities (In Spanish)
Twitter – @EcoMineriaVE
Disclaimer: The above interview was conducted partly using mis espanol medio, and mostly through a translator and may contain inaccuracies, it is not in it’s original Spanish or from the original words of Minister FRA. Please report any errors and we will be happy to update them, a copy of the original recorded interview is available by formal request.