Russian group proposes US$100mn investment in mining projects

Monday, September 3, 2007

Russian investment group Agapov has submitted a program to Venezuela's basic industries and mining ministry (Mibam) that involves exploring and mining several deposits in the south of Bolívar state, Venezuelan press reported.

The project looks at investments of over US$100mn to develop underground mining and to install and later expand a plant in the El Dorado area, Agapov operating manager Néstor Hernández was quoted as saying.

The Russian investors also proposed alluvial diamond exploration and mining in the south of the state, the report read.

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In 2005, Agapov signed a letter of intent with Venezuelan gold miner Minerven, a subsidiary of state heavy industry holding company CVG, to jointly mine various parts of Bolívar state.

The agreement looked at developing the El Viejo Callao gold mine, installing an ore processing plant, and developing the La Camorra mine near El Dorado, now on lease to US company Hecla Mining, BNamericas previously reported.

Minerven controls Block B, made up of gold mining concessions La Laguna, Santa Rita, Panamá and Isidora. Block B and La Camorra were awarded to Hecla (NYSE: HL) in a purchase-lease agreement.