With Venezuela’s economy in a meltdown, over 300,000 fortune hunters have descended in a mineral rich jungle area to earn a living. Gold mining camps have since 2016 gave the administration 17 tonnes of precious metal worth US$ 650 million.
Miners are paid worthless currency bank notes to supply government with gold to import basic food and hygiene products. Gold trading is helping the President Nicolas Maduro to sustain, however the U.S. government have imposed fresh sanctions to stop Maduro from burning up national reserves.
The Venezuelan government have stored gold reserves worth US$ 1.2 billion with the Bank of England, Trump administration has been pressuring U.K. not release the reserves. The existence of the gold program is very well known but it’s operations and functions are still not .
The Maduro government don’t have funds to operate any mines, so they unleashed freelance mine prospectors to extract minerals with no regulation or state investment. Miners work in 12 hours shifts in small mine mills to extract the precious metal. Mining accidents are common in the area, so are robberies and shootings.
Turkey is a close partner and a consumer of gold reserves from Venezuela. In return, Venezuela receives Turkish pasta and powdered milk. These food products are in the staple diet of the President’s subsidized food program. Trade between Turkey and Venezuela grew eight folds last year.