Rushing to judgment in the Dominican RepublicPublished by MAC on 2012-11-01
Source: Mining.com, statement (2012-10-23)
The Dominican Republic is "experiencing an unprecedented gold mining rush. During the last three years it is estimated total investment in the mining sector is between $4-5 Billion."
That's the opinion of Santo Mining Corp which - in addition to citing its own six precoius and base metals' claims - names top global gold producers, Barrick Gold and Newmont, as among others participating in the "rush".
Meanwhile, in the face of mounting opposition, UK-Swiss giant Xstrata has had to submit the environmental impact assessment for its Falcondo nickel project for analysis by the UNDP. See: Environmental groups call for halt to Xstrata's Falcondo mine, Dominican Republic
Following recent elections, the country's new president installed his cousin Mr. Alexander Medina as the new Director of the Mining Management Office.
Says Santo Mining: "Both appointments have been received well by the mining sector and both are making significant improvements to their respective agencies."
This is hardly a surprising statement: Mr Medina is a former executive for Canadian mining company Falconbridge, which was bought by Xstrta in 2006.
Xstrata's Dominican nickel project in UN's hands
23 October 2012
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) representative, Valerie Julliand, announced Tuesday that it has agreed to the Dominican Republic government's request to review Xstrata Nickel's environmental impact study for the Loma Miranda project, located in the country's central region.
According to Dominican Today, the country asked the UNDP to analyze Xstrata's Falcondo impact on the region, to decide whether to grant the miner a new mining licence.
Local newspaper Dario Horizonte (in Spanish) states that the authorities are being pressed by environmental groups, which claim that Xstrata's operations are affecting the nation's main water reserve.
Early this month, Xstrata Nickel said a Dominican court's ruling ordered it to halt production at Loma Miranda and, at the same time, allowed unrestricted access to the property by third parties, violating its constitutional rights.
According to data published by the Dominican Republic's geology society (Sodogeo), the Caribbean nation is sitting on nearly $58 billion of unexplored reserves of minerals and metals.
Based on the entity's calculations, the underground hidden treasure trove comprises about 27 million ounces of gold, 168 million ounces of silver, 652 million pounds of copper, 6 billion pounds of zinc and 25 million pounds of nickel.
Only eight companies currently share the country's mineral wealth. Xstrata, Barrick Gold and Goldcorp are the major players in the Dominican's emerging mining industry. The firms have a combined total of 14 exploration and exploitation projects, spread throughout various parts of the Caribbean nation.
Santo Mining Corp in the Middle of Dominican Gold Rush
Santo Mining Corporation press release
15 October 2012
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - (the "Company"). The Dominican Republic is experiencing an unprecedented gold mining rush. During the last three years it is estimated total investment in the mining sector is between $4-5 Billion. New exploration around Spanish Colonial metal workings and some Greenfield locations resulted in a proliferation of near-term gold production opportunities.
The mineral rich Hispaniola Gold-Copper Back-Arc, rising to 10,000 feet, cuts a diagonal swath across the island where Taino Indians collected gold nuggets from the river and later Columbus was first to systematically extract gold.
Today the island is literally peppered with historical gold, silver and copper works. Some of these former sites have been explored and resulted in major discoveries; while others have yet to be investigated.
These major discoveries include Barrick Gold's world class "Pueblo Viejo" mine with reported probable and proven reserves of 25.3 million ounces of gold valued at $40 Billion at current prices. This mine is expected to produce more than 1 million ounces a year once production ramps up in 2013 (source: Barrick Gold Corp).
Meanwhile Perilya's "Cerro de Maimon" produces 130,000 ounces of gold every year valued at $204.5 million at recent current prices. Not far to the west is Falcondo Xstrata's enormous 49.6 million ton Nickel complex, formerly the World's second largest nickel mine (Source: Falcondo Xstrata).
Exploration is also underway in Hispaniola by: Brigus, Everton Resources, Unigold, Newmont, Eurasian, Estrella Gold, Majesco and Goldquest. This summer Goldquest announced three major gold interceptions at their Romero drill site.
Reports of locals finding large gold nuggets abound. In one instance a farmer found an 84 gram nugget under a piece of plank and another report shows an elderly woman holding a grapefruit size nugget taken from a river bed following several days of heavy rain. The locals pan gold in just about every river and on a recent visit to Moncion area 2 grams of gold was recovered from six buckets of alluvial sediment which roughly computes to 10 g/t gold.
The Dominican Republic is a democratic country with similar political structure to USA. Santo Domingo is a modern bustling city with all the amenities and technologies of its US counterparts.
Following recent presidential elections, the new republican president installed his cousin Mr. Alexander Medina (Former Falconbridge executive) as the new Director of the Mining Management Office and Mr. Lisandro Lembert as Vice-Minister of Mines and Energy.
Both appointments have been received well by the mining sector and both are making significant improvements to their respective agencies.
Santo Mining President Al French is quoted as saying, "We are fortunate enough to have six precious and base metal claims in the heart of the mineral rich geology, an agile exploration team with over 100 years of local experience, a pipeline of highly prospective claims, close ties with many community leaders, and field efforts supported by seasoned financial consultants. I believe we are in the right place at the right time. This is a unique window of opportunity and Santo Mining is definitely considered an active participant in this exciting Dominican Gold Boom."