(Reuters) - Crystallex International KRY.TO, a Canadian miner that tried for years to develop a massive gold deposit in Venezuela, filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday and will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The Vancouver-based company rose to prominence after winning a contract to develop the 17-million-ounce Las Cristinas deposit in 2002. However, the company ran into delays securing environmental approvals and the contract was abruptly withdrawn by the Hugo Chavez government in 2007.
Chavez has since announced he will nationalize the country’s gold industry.
Crystallex has continued to push for reinstatement of the mining contract, but struggled to finance C$100 million ($98 million) of debt that came due on Friday.
The company has obtained protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada, and has obtained permits to maintain possession of its property as it seeks international arbitration with the Venezuelan government and obtains financing to pay its creditors, it said.
Crystallex is seeking $3.8 billion from Venezuela.
Reporting By Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson