Gold Reserve and Crystallex meet with venezuelan environment ministry

Gold Reserve reports that it was invited to a meeting held on June 18, 2008 with the Venezuelan Ministry of Environment (“MinAmb”), led by Vice Minister of Environmental Planning and Administration, Ing. Merly Garcia and assisted by legal advisor Dra. Lucy Vidal. Crystallex International¬†also attended the meeting. According to Vice Minister Garcia, the objective of the meeting was to inform both companies of the decision taken by the government to reconsider the permitting process for both projects, subject to meeting certain criteria. Vice Minister Garcia requested the parties at the meeting to submit individual proposals to the Ministry regarding further optimising enhancements to the social projects and programs in the area, enhancing the mitigation plans from the effect of the current mine plan, and improving the mine closure remediation plans at the end of the mine life including remediation of the past environmental damage caused by the artisan miners who had worked in the vicinity of the project area. Regarding the company, she indicated that if these issues could be resolved in an acceptable manner to the Ministry this would enable the issuance of the full Permit to Affect. The MinAmb representatives stated that the company’s proposal will be reviewed with the participation of other appropriate entities of the government and asked for a timely response so that this matter could be resolved as quickly as possible.

Doug Belanger, President of Gold Reserve, stated, “We believe it is premature to predict the outcome of this initiative by the government. Although we are enthusiastic with MinAmb’s initiative, we are also trying to reconcile Environmental Minister Ortega’s statements related to the potential banning of open pit mining in the Imataca Forest Reserve. The company is also closely following any changes in mining policies and/or the legal framework in Venezuela as has been stated in recent years by the Ministry of Basic Industries and Mines (MIBAM) to determine any potential impact on the Brisas project.

“We believe the company’s sustainable development projects and programs satisfy MinAmb’s request in addition to meeting the criteria set by the Equator Principles. The company is currently reviewing our project remediation plans and mine closure program in order to clarify them according to MinAmb’s suggestions.”

Belanger further stated, “The company is currently working its way through these matters and would like to thank the 21 local, indigenous and Creole communities from the KM88 area whom through the “Liaison Commission Community – Brisas Project” have addressed our permitting issue to the government. It has been very gratifying in this difficult time and we thank them for their continued strong support.”