COLORADO SPRINGS ( TheStreet ) -- Nationalization fears were reverberating through the gold mining community at the Denver Gold Forum.
"Ernst Young had a report out on the mining industry," said NovaGold (NG) cheif executive officer Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, "and they identified the number one issue for the mining industry is nationalization, whether it's in bite sized pieces by taxing you to death ... or its taking a bigger piece of the pie or the whole pie. They usually don't take the whole pie until you've invested your capital."
The fears are warranted. Mongolia announced Tuesday that it was thinking about increasing its stake in the Oyu Tolgoi project in South Gobi. Ivanhoe Mines, which is almost 50% owned by Rio Tinto (RIO), owns 66% of the project and the government 34%. According to reports, the government might try to increase its share to 40%.
Hugo Chavez in Venezuela did something similar Monday by announcing that all the gold mined in the country had to be sold to the government and that 55% of gold miners belong to the state -- companies have 90 days to make that joint venture.
Australia is still debating raising its mining tax and Peru just hiked taxes. Mining companies will be taxed on their operating profits and not more than 50%. This tax increase was actually considered a victory by the mining industry that newly elected socialist leader, Ollanta Humala, didn't get more aggressive. David Christensen, CEO of ASA Gold and Precious Metals (ASA) said "
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