Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has officially nationalized Venezuela's gold mining industry. The decree signed Tuesday places the gold mining industry under complete government control.
The law gives the state the exclusive right to explore and mine gold within the country. It does allow for joint ventures in which private companies hold a minority stake.
In a televised ministerial meeting, Chavez also announced that $11 billion of Venezuelan gold reserves held in U.S. and European banks will be returned to Venezuela. The first shipment is expected within the next several weeks.
President Chavez also announced plans to move more than $6 billion in Venezuelan cash reserves to "friendly" banks in Brazil, China and Russia. The money is now held in European and American banks.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.