MAC: Mines and Communities

Environmental groups call for halt to Xstrata's Falcondo mine, Dominican Republic

Published by MAC on 2012-10-02
Source: Dominican Today, Business News Americas (2012-09-21)

Protesters also reject exploration for gold and silver in the Restauración-Dajabón area.

Environmental groups call for halt to Xstrata's Falcondo mine - Dominican R.

Harvey Beltrán

Business News America

21 September 2012

Protests against Falcondo. 7Dias.com.do / Alberto Rosario

Environmental groups are calling for the Dominican Republic's government to ban nickel mining at multinational resource group Xstrata's Falcondo mine in the Loma Miranda area of La Vega province, because they feel it affects the country's main water reserve. The area is located in the central region of the country.

"It's a peaceful protest held by environmental groups, which are also based in other countries," national mining director Alexander Medina told BNamericas.

Medina also emphasized that the government is committed to the exploration and extraction of mineral resources in an environmentally responsible manner, and in accordance with the law.

Environmental groups have also demanded that the exploration of gold and silver deposits in the Restauración-Dajabón area along the Haitian border be stopped, a project being carried out by Toronto-based Unigold. Groups have also called for a halt to gold projects in the Loma Mala area in Monseñor Nouel province, and in the Sierra de los Siete Picos area in Monte Plata, though no specific projects were mentioned.

According to the official, these are requests made by groups that simply aim to limit mining activities. Medina clarified that mining and other human activities in the central mountain region are restricted throughout the country's national parks and protected areas, which cover over 80% of the region.

"The Dominican government will respect the established protected areas and will only allow exploration and potential mining in unrestricted areas," Medina said.

The recently launched Pueblo Viejo gold mine, operated by Canadian miner Barrick Gold, is not located in any of the affected areas, but rather in the province of Sánchez Ramírez.


Academy of Sciences joins Xstrata mine's opponents

Dominican Today

14 September 2012

Santo Domingo - The Academy of Sciences yesterday said to allow open pit mining at Loma Miranda by the company Xstrata Falcondo Nickel is folly and inconherent.

It said that action would be a repeat of the devastation that company caused at its previous four sites, Loma Peguera, El Verde, Ortega and Ponton.

It said its importance deems its designation of National Park to preserve its potential to generate more environmental services and greater wealth for the country.

In a statement, the Academy called Loma Miranda a treasure of natural resources, biodiversity, water production, scenic value and recreational potential.

"Loma Miranda is a mine of water whose benefits are reflected in farm production of La Vega Valley and water supply to La Vega, Monsignor Noel, Sanchez Ramirez, Duarte and Hermanas Mirabal provinces, where more than 20 towns require this vital liquid for their daily survival."

Breach

"Forty years is long enough to observe the behavior and breaches of a company, which as can be seen, set aside just a small portion of the profits generated by the beneficiary of nickel and associated metals, to remedy the impacts," the Academy of Sciences said.

Protest

Several organizations confirmed a march to the National Palace on Sunday to protest Xstrata's proposed mining at Loma Miranda.


Dominican doctors guild also opposes Xstrata nickel mine

Dominican Today12 September 2012

Santo Domingo.- The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) today joined the growing group which defends the natural resources and oppose nickel mining at Loma Miranda, in the Central Mountains.

In a press conference with the National Committee Against Mega Mining and the use of cyanide, doctors guild president Amarilis Herrera urged the people to join and actively participate in the march planned to start 10 am Sunday departing from Independencia Park to the National Palace.

Environmentalists, politicians, members of civil socity and grassroots movements form the group formed to oppose the Xstrata Falcondo mine operation.

Herrera asked the Environment Minister and the President, to not be fooled by those big business empires e, which in her view have shown little care for people's health.

She said the CMD warns of the danger posed by the use of cyanide in the open, and that exposure to the substance may result in a person's death in less than 10 minutes.

The guild leader said the doctors joined that struggle, because they have a social responsibility to defend the natural resources and the Dominican population's health.

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