August 26, 2016 / 8:12 PM / 2 years ago

Venezuela says signs $5.5 bln mining deals, companies include Barrick

CARACAS, Aug 26 (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday that Venezuela had signed over $5.5 billion in mining deals with companies including Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp and China’s Shandong Gold.

The deals are part of plan to ease the OPEC nation’s grave economic crisis that has caused food shortages and supermarket riots.

“Today we are signing investments and letters of commitment for projects for over $5.5 billion,” said Maduro in a televised meeting with foreign mining executives.

Earlier this month, Maduro said Venezuela had struck $4.5 billion in mining deals with foreign and domestic companies. He also said that he expected $20 billion in mining investment contracts to be signed in coming days.

It was unclear if the $5.5 billion were part of the broader $20 billion investments.

Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Diego Ore; Additional reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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