When Marc Lubaszka arrived in Venezuela he knew the country was rich in gold, diamonds, and oil. Getting to the gold, he knew, would present a challenge. Getting the gold out, would be the easy part.
Risk vs. Reward
The problem with mining gold in Venezuela is that you can purchase gold from miners for less than half of the global market price when you are in remote areas. The more populated areas that are controlled by organized crime set a market price that is somewhere below 35% of the global market price. As a gold miner, you are required to sell the gold you realize at a fixed price. Failure to comply can result in physical harm or even death at the hands of the regulators.
There are over 23,450 square miles of land available throughout the Orinoco Mining Arc. This land is rich in gold, diamonds, copper, and other resources. Most of the gold miners in the area are made up of two or three men teams with limited mining capacity due to the lack of sophisticated equipment according to Marc Lubaszka.
Many miners engage in backbreaking labor that results in .6 to 1 gram of gold per day. The upper 5% of gold miners in the region operate professional equipment, employ skilled labor, and have access to food, medicine, energy and clean water. These miners can produce between 200 to 1,200 grams of gold daily for those interested in mining gold in Venezuela.
Organized Crime Syndicate
The country has a group that governs itself going back decades. The area where gold is produced in the state of Bolivar has had gold miners that have been able to operate without government interference. There have been instances where the government in Venezuela has attempted to interfere in mining operations but those that govern the area have been able to retain control.
There are very few rules. The law dictates that people involved in gold mining cannot steal from others, they must buy and sell at the syndicate’s determined price, and miners are required to pay a tax to the syndicate to operate in the region.
The gold and diamond business in Venezuela is an easy business to enter into and a difficult business to get out of. Once you are in the business you are immediately surrounded by threats. The threat of disease, territorial disputes, equipment failure, poverty, violence, and the lack of rules and regulations to abide by according to Lubaszka.
Amazon.com sells a book on how to produce gold from beginning to end.
Disputes are not handled through arbitration or the court system. There are people with guns, and then there is everyone else. Those that hold influence outside of the mining territory are never allowed to exert their power within a mining camp.
How to Win in Venezuela
The formula is simple. Get equipment that is illegal to have and transport it past the military check points that you will find throughout the country and into the mining camps. You have to pay the syndicate a fee to enter and you have to pay a percentage of the gold you mine to the syndicate once you are operational. You have to get food and fuel which are both black market items into the mining camps so you can operate the machines and the men you employ.
Pull the gold out of the ground. Once you have the gold, you have to get the gold out of the region so that you can sell it at the world market price.
* There is a list of things that can go wrong. This list is not given to you when you begin.
Gold and Chaos – Organized Crime Controls Gold Trade in Venezuela – Miners Sell 24k Gold at $700 per Ounce
FINANCIAL AND INVESTMENT CAREER
Marc Lubaszka began his investment career in 1998. He and a partner raised $250,000 in seed capital to start an entertainment company while still in college. The idea was to participate in the new financial and technological growth opportunities related to the internet before the dot-com bubble burst. The two young entrepreneurs created the first online reality show that ran twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and were the first to use Microsoft’s media player to stream live continuous video to end users around the globe. The business was later sold for an undisclosed amount.
Lubaszka changed gears after the internet bubble popped taking a contrarian approach. He secured a position at a growing financial firm that specialized in providing investors with alternative investment options where he learned fundamental analysis, portfolio management strategies, and an alternative investment approach.
In 2004, Lubaszka ventured out on his own and established a financial advisory company that provided investors with the ability to buy investment products that were designed to protect investors from inflation. The company was successful growing into one of Americas fastest growing corporations according to Inc. Magazine.
In 2011, Lubaszka turned control of the company over to management to seek opportunities in Latin America. There he discovered investments in mining, lumber, infrastructure, treasury bonds and real estate.
In 2012, Lubaszka began consulting independently for Vanguard and advised various institutional fund managers on strategy, asset allocation, and trends in emerging markets. His role with Vanguard ceased in October of 2017.
In 2018, a group of investors formed a company, Emerging Market Technology, and named Marc Lubaszka general partner and Chief Investment Officer. The company devotes resources to development projects and small businesses that range from start-ups to established businesses in various parts of the business life cycle. Areas they target for investment include Airlines and Transportation, Mining and Metals, Telecommunications, Oil and Gas, Energy, Technology – including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Machine Learning.
Marc Lubaszka supports various business organizations that encourage entrepreneurs and business leaders to grow corporations. They include Academy of International Business, American Economic Association, and the Association for Corporate Growth.
Marc Lubaszka grew up in the United States and attended a private grade school and a private Catholic high school where he studied Advanced Placement Calculus and Advanced Placement Physics. He was accepted at Gonzaga University, a private Jesuit college located in Spokane, Washington. Lubaszka, wanting to remain close to home, settled on Santa Barbara City College who’s curriculum included courses in entrepreneurship and investment valuation. Lubaszka later enrolled in the Harvard Executive Education Program.
Marc Lubaszka has been influenced by numerous books which include The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Steven Covey, Winning by Jack Welch, Made in America by Sam Walton, Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Give Smart: The Philosophy that Gets Results, and The Givers: Wealth, Power and Philanthropy in a New Guilded Age by David Callahan, Energy and Civilization, A History, by Vaclav Smil, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, and The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown.
Marc Lubaszka has visited more than 25 different countries outside of Europe. Including, Canada, Brazil, China, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Bolivia, French Guiana, Venezuela, Suriname, Ecuador, and Peru.
In 2012, customers filed complaints against one of Lubaszka’s former business in North America. This came at a time when Lubaszka was no longer involved in the business. Rumors circulated in the media that Lubaszka fled the country. These rumors were proven to be false. Lubaszka agreed to settle claims against the business for an undisclosed amount and he was never questioned about the matter by the authorities.
Marc Lubaszka has made a commitment to leave the majority of his net worth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. Additional charities Lubaszka supports are the Association of Abused Women located in New York, Open Door Food Pantry located in New York, Disabled American Veteran’s located in Ohio, and Love Animals in Ohio.