November 24, 2017 / 11:44 PM / a year ago

Canada's Crystallex, Venezuela settle mine dispute: Bloomberg

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian miner Crystallex International Corp and Venezuela’s government have agreed to settle a dispute over the country’s seizure of the Las Cristinas gold mine, Bloomberg News reported late on Friday.

The settlement may be worth more than $1 billion, which would make it the largest one agreed to by Venezuela, Bloomberg reported, citing company comments related to the award. The deal was approved in Ontario Superior Court on Friday, though parts of it remain sealed, including the amount.

Crystallex representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, had sought to collect a $1.2 billion arbitration award ordered by a World Bank tribunal in 2016.

The government of former Venezuela President Hugo Chavez took over the gold project in 2008 as part of a plan to put key industries into state hands.

Las Cristinas was the miner’s flagship project and, at the time, was regarded as one of the world’s biggest undeveloped gold deposits with estimated reserves of 12.5 million ounces. But development was delayed for years by legal disputes and permitting hold-ups.

Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Jim Finkle and Matthew Lewis

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