Prospectors lured by "cursed" Venezuela gold mine

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Four centuries after the lure of Venezuelan gold brought ruin to English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, the riches at one giant mine some say is cursed still haunt treasure hunters from across the globe.

Located south of the Orinoco river and near a town bearing the name of the mythical golden city of El Dorado, the Las Cristinas deposit captivates miners and prospectors even though no ore has been legally dug there in two decades.

Studies show it may be Latin America's top gold deposit.
But the Las Cristinas saga, involving a ghost town, environmental devastation and fist-sized nuggets, underlines the risks of business in Venezuela, where the draw of natural wealth has been dulled by rule changes and economic turmoil.

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