The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has ordered Venezuela to pay U.S.-based miner Gold Reserve $740.3 million for terminating its Las Brisas copper-gold concession, one of Latin America’s largest, company officials announced. The appropriation took place in 2009 amid a 14-year binge of resource nationalism under President Hugo Chavez.
Spokane, Wasington-based Gold Reserve officials hailed the outcome but noted it was short of the $2.1 billion in damages initially sought from the World Bank's Washington-based ICSID. “It is less than the value of the project and Venezuela will substantially benefit from development of the mine,” the company said in a website statement.
Regardless, “we are hopeful Venezuela will satisfy its obligations without delay,” Gold Reserve President Doug Belanger said, according to Reuters News. However, “should they fail to do so, we are prepared to pursue all available means to ensure that the amount awarded is recovered in full,” Belanger added; the Ministry of Information did not respond to requests for comments, Reuters reported.
Venezuela currently faces more than two dozen international compensation claims in disputes largely stemming from the Chavez era ending with his 2013 death. The late president nationalized large segments of the economy, including mines, and oil fields, saying Venezuela should have ownership of its strategic resources; socialist rule continues in one of the world’s most mismanaged economies.