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A look at the South American governments that have made moves toward taking control of or reclaiming mining assets in their countries
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced in August, 2011, that gold mines would be nationalized. In 2007, Venezuela took over the assets of an Exxon Mobil Corp. oil project. This year, an international arbitration panel ordered it to pay $908-million (U.S.) in compensation; Exxon had been seeking $7-billion. Venezuela cancelled a contract with Canada’s Crystallex International Corp. in 2011 for the Las Cristinas gold mining project; Chinese investment company CITIC took it over this year. Pictured: President Chavez (C) attends a promotion ceremony at the military academy in Caracas on July 8.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez this year ordered the partially state-owned YPF to be nationalized, expropriating it from Spain’s Repsol YPF. Pictured: President Fernandez de Kirchner holds up an edition of Spain's newspaper El Pais with a picture of Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos during a visit to a tractor factory in General Rodriguez, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on July 11.
Ecuador announced in 2009 that mining was one of the key economic sectors it planned to nationalize. The country’s indigenous people oppose the industry; more than 1,000 people marched 700 kilometres this year to protest large-scale mining projects that would disturb wildlife. Pictured: An Ecuadorian indigenous protester in a march to Quito to protest the El Mirador copper mining project on March 22.
Bolivia this week seized and nationalized the assets of Vancouver-based South American Silver Corp. after allegations the miner instigated violence around a silver-indium-gallium project. In June, it took over Glencore International PLC’s Colquiri tin and zinc mine after similar violence. In May, Bolivia forced a takeover of a Spanish company that owns most of its electricity grid. Pictured: Bolivia's President Evo Morales, right, and Quechua Indigenous leaders participate in a signing agreement ceremony in La Paz, Bolivia, on July 10.
(Juan Karita/The Associated Press)
Guatemala is adjusting mining laws to allow it to take a stake of up to 40 per cent in new resource projects, although Finance Minister Pavel Centeno said this week existing investors won’t be affected. Pictured: A man sits outside a house made of recycled materials in the city dump of Guatemala City on Nov. 28, 2011.
(JORGE DAN LOPEZ/REUTERS)