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The "Joint Ventures" of the Mining Arc come from Barbados

Hurried by the drop of oil prices and the collapse of oil production, Nicolás Maduro bets on the Orinoco Mining Arc as a formula to increase the resources that are so scarce in the national coffers. Under the "joint venture" system, the Government has ended up agreeing with companies insufficiently known in the extra-activist industry, like Corporación Faoz. Among the beneficiaries is Gold Reserve, the Canadian mining company that Hugo Chávez expelled from Venezuela years ago. The Paradise Papers filtering shows that both have registered companies in that tax haven called Barbados.

The largest mining deposit in Venezuela and the small island of Barbados are connected. Though separated by more than a thousand kilometers (621.37 mi), both geographical points are united in the business that emerged from the delimitation of the "Orinoco Mining Arc" by the government of Nicolás Maduro in February 2016. If smuggling, and small-scale and informal mining governed the south of Venezuela for years, now the foundations of a rushed exploitation with "joint ventures" between the State and private companies with companies in the Caribbean island are being built.

For some reason, not entirely clear, this activity —in an area of ??almost 112 thousand square kilometers (43243.44 square miles) to the north of the state of Bolívar and south of the Orinoco River—according to presidential decree 2.248 issued in Official Gazette 40.855 of February 24, 2016, with which the Venezuelan government aims to make up for the drop in oil prices and the collapse of oil production, is now linked to companies registered in that small tax haven called Barbados. This is the case of Corporación Faoz, an unknown Venezuelan company that in August 2016 signed an agreement with the national Executive for the exploitation of Coltan, a strategic mineral known as "blue gold," and wanted by industries like the telecommunications industry.

"In 2013-2014, they participated in the exploration of phosphate deposits in the state of Táchira, and in 2016, they presented the joint venture project with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the exploration and exploitation of the tantalum and niobium deposit in the state of Bolívar," the presenter said, as a justification, about Corporación Faoz in a ceremony held on August 5, 2016, at the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV).