December 18, 2008

Venezuelan Government Invests $900 Million in Largest Steel Plant

December 16th 2008, by Erik Sperling -
Carora, December 16, 2008 ( The Venezuelan government will invest US$ 900 million in Sidor, the largest steel plant in Latin America, said Rodolfo Sanz, Minister of Basic Industries and Mines, in a television interview.

President Hugo Chavez authorized the investment with the goal of expanding production at the recently nationalized steelmaker Sidor, according to Sanz, who also acts as the head of the company.

He detailed that the government aims to increase Sidor’s annual production from four million tons of liquid steel to seven million over the next four years.

Venezuela’s Chavez announced the nationalization of Sidor in May, and the government assumed control of the business a month later, after the company refused to negotiate with workers over a new collective contract.

Venezuela has enough iron to last for 500 years, he added, with about 14 billion tons of the material in reserves.

Sanz also highlighted Venezuela’s large reserves of gold, diamonds, bauxite, and uranium.

Thanks to Cuban and Iranian specialists, he said, “we now have a complete map of the location of all of our reserves, from gold to uranium.”

Sanz said that Venezuela is open to investments of private capital in the sector, but with the government as majority shareholder, as is the case with the Russian company Rusoro which is currently working in the country.

Sanz mentioned President Chavez reiterated to him in a phone conversation that the extraction and development of uranium would be “for peaceful purposes only.”

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