Peter Koven | Financial Post
An arbitration tribunal has ordered the Venezuelan government to pay a whopping US$1.386 billion to Canadian miner Crystallex International Corp., saying the state caused all of Crystallex’s investments “to become worthless.”
The award relates to the rich Las Cristinas gold project in Venezuela. Crystallex had a contract to develop the mine, but Hugo Chavez’s government refused to issue a key permit and informed the company in 2011 that the contract was “unilaterally terminated.” No reasonable explanation was provided.
Crystallex quickly launched an international arbitration case at the World Bank’s investment dispute centre, and the tribunal finally ruled in its favour this week.
“We are pleased that the tribunal has recognized Venezuela’s unlawful expropriation of the company’s investment in the Las Cristinas mining project,” Crystallex chairman and chief executive Robert Fung said in a statement. “The company looks forward to collecting on the award on behalf of all of its stakeholders.”