Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Kinross Gold calls Bolivia, Venezuela risky

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kinross Gold Corp will steer clear of leftist countries South America because of the high political risk for foreign investment, the chief executive of No. 8 gold producer said on Monday.

CEO Tye Burt said at the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit in New York said Kinross has a few "no-go" countries, naming Venezuela and Bolivia, whose recent moves to nationalize foreign owned energy resources, have made mining companies nervous that the same could happen on the minerals side.

He also noted that China and Indonesia were risky areas as well.

"I would say Indonesia right now is a bit remote for us and China is a bit insular from our perspective," Burt added.

He noted, however, that he was comfortable with the investment potential in Russia.

"We are comfortable with the political situation (in Russia). Kinross has been active in Russia since at least 1998, but its Kubaka mine is nearing the end of its life.

"Moscow we see making a lot of the right moves in terms of paying the bureaucrats more in those republics," he said. "On the whole, Russia is very prospective, not our highest priority but certainly on our radar screen."

Elsewhere in South America, Kinross is upbeat about investing in Chile and Brazil, where Burt was optimistic about the prospects for its Paracatu project.

Here is the full article.