The president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez has told his government to repatriate $11 billion in gold bullion to safeguard the nation from global economic crisis. The gold is currently held in banks in the U.S and Europe. The president also said that he would nationalize the local gold industry to help the economic situation.
Chavez was very unhappy at what he cited as the exploitation of the gold resources in Venezuela and is hoping that the nationalization decree will give the socialist government more control over the gold mining operations in the country. The country officially produces 11 metric tons of gold per year but another 10 tons approximately are taken overseas through mining operations.
President Chavez said that Venezuela had some of the largest gold reserves in the world, and he would soon pass a law to take over the gold sector because it is in a state of anarchy, with mafias and smuggling. He added that they would nationalize gold and they would convert it, among other things, into international reserves, because gold keeps increasing in value.
The ore in Venezuela is rich in gold and coltan which contains tantalum. This is a rare earth metal that is used in mobile phones and other video game consoles. The country has $18 billion in gold reserves. Another $11 billion worth may be shipped back to Venezuela as per arbitration lawyer Julio Montoya.