When Chávez disclosed the intention on Wednesday afternoon to state television, gold futures rose in value. The nation holds the largest reserves of the precious metal in Latin America, but one strategist said the nation is not so big in the gold producing world.
"Venezuela is not even in the top 22," head of commodity strategy Bart Melek of TD Securities told The Journal, noting the nation generates roughly 1.7 metric tons of the precious metal per year. "They are not a huge gold producer."
Chávez' decree will come within the next few days, The Journal reports, noting his nationalization efforts have already extended to banks, telecommunications, oil fields, the power industry and farm land.
According to Reuters, the Chávez regime is feuding with foreign miners who disagree with restrictions as to how much gold they can export from the South American nation. Rusoro, a Toronto-based company owned by a Russian family, generated 100,000 ounces of bullion in 2010 and is considered the only big gold miner conducting operations in Venezuela.
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