Venezuelan authorities have offered Russian companies to take part in gold exploration and gold mining in the country, according to Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemsky.
“As for Russia’s participation in gold-mining or other mining projects, Venezuela has made a wide range of interesting proposals that are currently under consideration by interested Russian operators,” the ambassador said.
The official added that Caracas is deeply interested in cooperating with Russia in the sector of exploration of the country’s solid extractable resources, including gold, diamonds and coltan, which is used for the extraction of elements such as niobium and tantalum.
Apart from proven oil deposits, considered among the richest in the world, Venezuela is considerably rich in natural resources such as diamonds, gold, iron ore, aluminum, bauxite, natural gas, and petroleum. According to a report by the World Gold Council published in June, the country has 150 metric tons of gold reserves, which makes it the 25th largest gold reserve in the world.
However, the current economic crisis and US sanctions have forced Venezuela to rely on help from other nations. Earlier this year, Washington banned American businesses and individuals from dealing with entities and people involved in gold sales from the country.
In December, Caracas and Moscow signed a US$ 5 billion investment deal to raise Venezuela's oil production by one million barrels per day.
According to Zaemsky, the parties are also discussing possibility of cooperating on Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), which is run by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces and is currently the second alternative navigational system in operation.