President Hugo Chavez threatened to nationalise gold mining concessions in Venezuela.
The socialist leader accused mining companies of destroying the environment and violating workers' rights.
Mr Chavez harshly condemned the holders of gold mining concessions, calling them "crazy people" driven by capitalist greed who laid waste to Venezuela's pristine jungles and exploited employees.
He suggested mining concessions could be revoked.
Mr Chavez has nationalised businesses in the steel, telecommunications, electricity, cement and oil sectors.
His government repeatedly clashed with international and national gold-mining companies in recent years over permits.