國有化不手軟:金礦公司收歸委國 魯梭羅求償

立報/李威撰 2012.07.25 00:00
策劃、編譯■李威撰俄羅斯採礦公司魯梭羅,是最新一家向委內瑞拉索取賠償的公司。委內瑞拉總統查維斯去年將金礦業收歸國,因此向世界銀行的裁判部門尋求仲裁。Russian miner Rusoro became the latest company to seek compensation from Venezuela through arbitration at a World Bank tribunal, saying President Hugo Chavez's takeover (1) of the gold industry last year meant it had lost all its assets.在世界銀行的國際投資爭端解決中心(以下簡稱ICSID),查維斯的政府已面臨20項左右的案件,其中包括美國埃克森美孚與康菲等石油公司索賠的數十億美元。Chavez's government already faces about 20 cases, including multibillion-dollar claims by U.S. oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips, before the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID.今年尋求連任的這名社會主義領導者,在今年1月時曾表示,委內瑞拉要退出仲裁機構。但分析家認為,其他140個會員國仍視ICSID的裁決具有強制力,意味著索賠方將得到仲裁機構的指示,重新取回在委內瑞拉的資產。The socialist leader, who is seeking re-election this year, said in January that Venezuela was pulling out of the tribunal. Analysts, however, say ICSID's 140 other member countries will still view its judgments as enforceable, meaning claimants (2) could obtain court orders to seize Venezuelan assets.引發外國公司不滿魯梭羅及其他外國公司認為,出口限制會斲傷他們在這個南美國家開發計畫的努力,因此在這個問題上與查維斯發生爭端。隨後查維斯將目光放在金礦業。Chavez set his sights on the gold industry after quarreling with Rusoro and other foreign companies, which had complained that limits on exports were hurting their efforts to develop projects in the South American country.新法規於9月生效,透過禁止一切出口的方式,以及委內瑞拉政府在合資公司裡握有至少55%的股份,來「推翻資本主義開礦模式的嚴重衝擊」。另外,大多數計畫的權利金固定在13%,外國採礦業者對此表示,這會嚇跑任何一名正在考慮是否要在投入委內瑞拉的投資者。A new law came in force in September aimed at "overturning the serious impact of the capitalist mining model" by banning all exports and giving the Venezuelan state at least 55 percent of joint ventures. It also fixed the royalty rate for most projects at 13 percent, which foreign miners said would scare away any investors who were still deciding whether to work in Venezuela.在多倫多登記上市的魯梭羅是俄羅斯阿加波夫家族的企業,也是在委內瑞拉的最大金礦開採業者,過去與查維斯保持良好關係。魯梭羅2010年在委內瑞拉生產約15萬盎司的黃金,去年新法案生效前則開採了8萬盎司。Toronto-listed Rusoro, which is owned by Russia's Agapov family, was the biggest gold miner operating in the country and had enjoyed good relations with Chavez's government. It produced nearly 150,000 ounces in Venezuela in 2010, and about 80,000 ounces last year before the new rules took effect.人在莫斯科的魯梭羅總裁兼執行長安德烈.阿加波夫18日告訴《路透》,該公司花費數個月時間,希望與委內瑞拉當局達成友善協議。接受電話訪問的阿加波夫表示:「我們試圖尋求溫和的解決辦法,但政府卻聞風不動,所以我們決定提出仲裁。」「我們失去所有東西,我們並不曉得目前的情況,我們已經沒有在委內瑞拉進行開採作業了。」Rusoro's president and chief executive officer, Andre Agapov, told Reuters on Wednesday that the company had spent months seeking a friendly agreement with Venezuelan authorities. "We tried to find an amicable(3) solution but we never heard anything from the government, so then we decided to file the arbitration," he said in a telephone interview from Moscow. "We lost it all. We don't understand the situation now. We have no operations in Venezuela."魯梭羅並未表明索賠金額的數目。但去年卡拉卡斯一名高級主管表示,該公司在委內瑞拉的資產價值逾10億美元。Rusoro has not said how much it wants in compensation (4). Last year, a senior executive in Caracas said the company had assets in Venezuela worth more than $1 billion.委內瑞拉:仲裁機構侵犯主權魯梭羅去年曾表示,若能就「公平賠償」達成共識,他們會樂於留在委內瑞拉,自己持有45%的股份,繼續與政府保持合作。Rusoro had said last year that if "fair compensation" could be agreed upon, it would be happy to remain in Venezuela as a 45 percent partner with the government.阿加波夫18日不願提供更多關於魯梭羅的求償金額細節,他表示:「這是一段漫長過程,這有賴獨立專家去進行估算。」「過去10年我們花費很多金錢。當然,公司的價值很高,因為過去幾年金價飆漲。」Agapov declined to give more details on Wednesday about how much money Rusoro was seeking. "It is a long process. It's up to independent experts to make the estimate," he said. "We spent a lot of money in the last 10 years. And, of course, the value of the company could be very high because the price of gold went up so high in the last few years."查維斯的政府官員表示,仲裁小組侵犯他們的主權;另外在1月25日也曾表示過,委內瑞拉會撤出ICSID,因為它跟委內瑞拉的法律不相容。國家可透過書面聲明來「撤出」仲裁機構,但撤出後的6個月才開始生效。Chavez's administration says arbitration (5) panels violate its sovereignty, and on Jan. 25 it said Venezuela was withdrawing from ICSID because it was incompatible with its laws. Countries can "denounce" the tribunal via a written notice, but the move only comes into effect after six months.阿加波夫表示,公司決策的時間點跟這有關,他說:「他們在7月底退出法庭,那就是為何我們要在他們離開前提出訴訟的原因。」Agapov said that had a bearing on the timing of his company's decision. "They're leaving (the tribunal) at the end of July. That's why we filed before they left," he said.魯梭羅過去跟委內瑞拉聯合一起開採Choco 10露天礦場及優質的Isidora地底礦場,雙方出資各半。魯梭羅也希望能跟政府合作,在拉斯克里斯帝那斯進行開採計畫,該地是拉丁美洲金礦蘊藏量最豐的地區,估計有1,700萬盎司。Rusoro had been operating Venezuela's open pit Choco 10 mine and the high-grade underground Isidora mine, which was a 50/50 joint venture with the Chavez administration. It had also hoped to partner with the government in the Las Cristinas project, which is one of Latin America's largest gold deposits and has estimated reserves of 17 million ounces.然而查維斯在2月時表示,委內瑞拉將與中國大陸國有的投資公司中國中信集團合力開採拉斯克里斯帝那斯。In February, Chavez said Venezuela would develop Las Cristinas with Chinese state investment company CITIC instead.在全球金礦市場中,委內瑞拉的生產規模較小。2010年的合法開採的金礦是6公噸,若加上非正規的小規模開採,每年總產量大約可再多加12公噸。Venezuela is a relatively small player in the gold world, with its legal mining industry producing about 6 tonnes in 2010 and informal, small-scale mining thought to add a further 12 tonnes to the country's annual output.不過,拉丁美洲某些蘊藏最多金礦的地區,就位在委內瑞拉奧利諾科河南端的森林地區,已證實的礦藏量就超過了4,600公噸。But it boasts some of Latin America's biggest deposits of the precious metal - its proven reserves are more than 4,600 tonnes - buried below the jungles south of the Orinoco River.(路透Reuters)關鍵字詞1. takeover (n.) 接收2. claimant (n.) 原告、索賠人3. amicable (a.) 溫和的、友好的4. compensation (n.) 賠償5. arbitration (n.) 仲裁▲遊客在委內瑞拉的洛斯羅奎斯(Los Roques)海岸做日曬,圖攝於2007年4月14日。查維斯有意將觀光勝地洛斯羅奎斯附近所有島嶼上的私人房屋收歸國有,由國家經營這裡的觀光業。(圖文/路透)▲在委內瑞拉的拉斯克里斯帝那斯附近,礦工阿巴克(Cesar Abac)利用竹碗跟水銀來淘洗金礦,圖攝於2009年1月30日。(圖文/路透)