The Brisas-Cristinas Gold Mining Project in Venezuela. A Case Study for International Ventures

Rene J. Abreu


The Brisas-Cristinas gold and copper mining project is located in Venezuela, South America. It is one of the largest gold-copper deposits ever discovered in the Americas. A joint venture agreement to develop the project with the Venezuelan Government was announced in 2016 by the Canadian company Gold Reserve Inc. In the past, Brisas and Las Cristinas were two separate projects being developed by two different companies. With a history of mining activities since early 20th Century and industrial development attempts for more than 50 years, still there is no successful mining development in the region. This presentation describes the historical sequence of people, institutions and governments since 1963 that have combined to prevent any long-term operations. This real-life case helps to point out some of the risks that mineral companies can face when investing overseas.

Presenter’s Bio:

  • Mining Engineer from Universidad Central de Venezuela and Master of Science (MSc) in Mineral Economics from Colorado School of Mines in USA.
  • Under Rene International America LLC, Mr Abreu has provided services as a “Technical and Commercial International Mineral Consultant” for the major Asia international companies Soyitz Corporation of America, Mitsui Corporation, and China Minmetals.
  • In relation to today’s presentation, Mr. Abreu is familiar with the mining district where the “Brisas – Cristinas” gold and copper deposits are located:
    • Was the Small Scale Mining Manager for Crystallex International Corporation on Las Cristinas gold project.
    • Was the General Manager for Crystallex de Venezuela in the open pit saprolite gold mine Albino 1. During that time, the pit was violently invaded by people of the surrounding communities for one month.
    • Assisted and partnered Canadian junior exploration companies in mining concessions acquisitions and joint ventures, negotiations, promotion of mining prospects, and exploration project management in Venezuela greenstone belt.
    • Provided services as a technical consultant for various Environmental Impact Assessments for mining projects in the area.
  • He is a Professional Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), member of Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association, and Calgary Mineral Exploration Group.
  • In his spare time, he assists new immigrants settlement in Calgary, as a volunteer translator Spanish – English through the organization “Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC)”.