by Dudley Baker
Hugo Chavez and Investors Disagree
January 17, 2013
What’s really happening in Venezuela with gold properties?
Is Chavez, alive or dead? Will he return? How will these answers affect the gold properties in Venezuela?
From our friends at ResourceInvestingNews.com they reported in a January 7, 2013 article:
“Chavez seized 988 companies between 2002 and August 2011, according to a report from Conindustria, a Venezuelan industry chamber. He also nationalized the country’s gold mines in September 2011. At the time, the biggest foreign miner operating in Venezuela was Rusoro Mining (TSXV:RML), which had two producing mines in the country, along with 10 exploration properties. The seizure sent Rusoro’s stock tumbling 16.7 percent on the day the announcement was made, according to Mining.com.
In July 2012, Rusoro filed a claim with the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in a bid to receive compensation for its lost assets. “We tried to find an amicable solution but we never heard anything from the government, so then we decided to file the arbitration,” Andre Agapov, Rusoro’s president and CEO, told Reuters. “We lost it all. We don’t understand the situation now. We have no operations in Venezuela.”
Currently we are intrigued that three of the corporate officers of Rusoro Mining are buying shares in the open market, including Andre Agapov, the president, quoted in the article above. Agapov is a Russian national who several years ago was based in London. Rusoro is based in Toronto and the company is mostly owned by Agapov’s Russian family.
In August 2011, ETF Daily News reported that Agapov claimed to be a friend of Chavez and that he was not worried about nationalization of all mines. Agapov said he believed moves by Chavez were directed at the many illegal mining operations which operate under the radar and use environmentally damaging practices like mercury dumping.
Are some corporate insiders are betting on the death of Chavez and thus a possible reversal of the anti-government stance toward mining in Venezuela?
Rusoro Mining, TSX:RML
To quote from the company’s website (which must be outdated):
“Rusoro Mining is a gold producer and explorer, with a large land position in the prolific Bolivar State mining region in southern Venezuela.
Rusoro’s corporate strategy is to become a mid-tier (>500,000 oz Au/yr), low cost gold producer in the near term. The Company operates the Choco 10 mine (formerly operated by Goldfields) and the Isidora Mine which are located the El Callao district in south-eastern Venezuela.”
The three insiders have bought shares in the open market over the last 6 weeks and up to January 14th at prices between C$0.045 to C$0.075, well off of last years low price of C$0.02.
In addition, you might recognize the name, Gordon Keep? Mr. Keep (the right hand man for Frank Giustra) has a current holding in Rusoro of 620,000 common shares at his last reporting on January 30, 2012.
All told this is a cross current of events and news and we’re not exactly sure what to make of it.
However, it is doubtful that the Rusoro’s objectives match the objectives of Hugo Chavez, so it will be an interesting outcome either way.
While we personally find this to be an interesting situation, investors, both individual and professionals, must always consider the total risk in every case. Venezuela is a difficult country to do business, particularly for foreign companies. In the World Bank’s 2013 Doing Business ranking, Venezuela was ranked 180 out of 185 countries. Venezuela is ranked very low in the categories of investor protection, paying taxes and trading across borders.
Following the trading activity of corporate insiders must be an essential piece of your investment research but in the case of Rusoro Mining we will pass on this ‘opportunity’ as we personally see risk still out weighing reward.
Visit our website, www.JuniorMiningResources.com for more information and to sign up for our email list and twitter account.
January 17, 2013
Dudley Pierce Baker
Email: [email protected]
Junior Mining Resources was founded by Dudley Pierce Baker to bring the best junior mining opportunities to the attention of investors through his services.
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