MAC: Mines and Communities

Barrick Gold and its disputes in Dominican Republic

Published by MAC on 2010-03-18
Source: Dominican Today

The world's biggest corporate gold miner, Barrick, has been saddled with yet another accusation that it's been operating illegally - this time in the Dominican Republic.

Coincidentally, the issue of the contract between Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation (PVDC, in which Barrick holds a sixty per cent interest, and Goldcorp Inc. holds a forty per cent interest) and the Dominican government is gaining relevance on the country's public agenda.

The mining project, the largest foreign investment in the history of the Dominican Republic, is being condemned by many political and environmental organizations.

The mine was previously exploited until 1999. Placer Dome obtained the mining rights in 2001. In 2006, Barrick Gold took over Placer, and later sold a 40 percent interest in the project to GoldCorp.

The construction of a new tailings dam requires the relocation of the communities of El Llagal, Fátima and Los Cacaos. According to many sources, mining operations have already affected the Presa de Hatillo water reservoir.


Dominican Republic’s Environment chief wants Barrick Gold’s contract revised

9 March 2010

Santo Domingo – Environment minister Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal today suggested a revision of the Government’s contract with the Canada based mining company Barrick Gold, so it pays for the environmental cleanup, noting that “he who eats the meat must also eat the bones.”

He clarified that Barrick Gold has yet to start operations, and it isn’t polluting the environment in northeast Sanchez Ramirez province, and the contamination there place stems from the open pits left by the previous mining companies including Rosario Dominicana.

Fernandez Mirabal said the pollutants are the result of rains which oxidize the sulfides, which must be exploited to remove the gold, but controls are needed to prevent the resurgence of contaminants.

He said the government must supervise the operation, since politicians aren’t used to the moral convention of provide follow up.

The Environment Minister spoke to the press after a visit to Supreme Court president Jorge Subero on his 63rd birthday.

Barrick Gold to appeal Dominican court ruling on lands

22 February 2010

Santo Domingo.- Barrick Gold Corporation’s local operation clarified yesterday that it hasn’t usurped the lands of Jose Miguel De Peña Jiménez nor of any other person and wasn’t fined either.

The company Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation said the lands it occupied are within the Montenegro Reserve via a lease with the former owner Rosario Dominicana, the Central bank and the Dominican Government.

“Pueblo Viejo hasn’t been penalized with a fine. The ruling establishes the payment in damages if the stipulated compliance doesn’t occur,” it said in a statement.

It also affirms that it will appeal the ruling because the land isn’t property of Rosario Dominicana because it was expropriated via an Executive decree.

Moreover, Barrick Gold says Rosario Dominican is co-owner of more than 50 percent of that land and that it was leased to Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation.

The Sanchez Ramirez Judicial District  1st Penal Court handed down the 24 page ruling which establishes that the State has to guarantee the property  rights of people.

Dominican court rules against Barrick Gold in land dispute

Dominican Today

17 February 2010

Santo Domingo - A Sanchez Ramirez province (northeast) court yesterday sentenced Barrick Gold Corporation to pay 500,000 pesos daily until it returns more than 200 tareas (around 12.6 hectares) which it had illegally occupied.

The ruling from the Judicial District's 1st Penal Court judge Ramon Emilio Peña Perez favors Jose Pancracio de Peña Jiménez and rejects a restraining order against Industry and Commerce minister Jose Ramon Fadul, and Mining director Octavio Lopez.

During the hearings, the Canada based mining company was represented by Augusto Chong and the lawyers Alberto Fiallo, Luis Miguel Rivas Hirujo and Juan Manuel Pellerano Gomez.

The court's 24 page ruling states that Barrick will have to allow free access to the land's proprietor, once the sentence is notified.

De Peña Jiménez had been demanding the return of the property for two years, and a 270 million peso lawsuit for violation and damages to private property is still pending.

The court verified that the company prevented Peña Jiménez's access to his lands on December 5, whereas Barrick Gold's lawyers motioned for acquittal, claiming among other considerations, the protection of the rights of property.

Property rights

The judge ruled that the State is obliged to guarantee Peña Jiménez's right to property, because his lands were occupied by force.

Barrick Gold's operations are based in Pueblo Viejo, Cotui.

Canada defends Barrick Gold's operation in Dominican Republic

Dominican Today

11 February 2010

Santo Domingo - Canada's Ambassador today defended the feasibility of the contract between the Dominican Government and the mining company Barrick Gold for the exploitation of sulfides in Pueblo Viejo, Cotuí.

Todd Kuiack said in economic and technological terms the contract greatly benefits Dominican Republic.

The diplomat also touted the Canadian Government's investment policy in several productive areas and activities in the country, stressing the respect for the environment.

"It is my understanding that the contract contemplates the establishment of mechanisms to guarantee the preservation of the environment and natural resources in the province of Sanchez Ramirez. It's not only important what will be obtained there in economic terms but also environmentally," he said.

Kuiack said Barrick Gold operates successfully in 28 countries and in each one has been characterized for responsible mining, contributing to raise the standard of living in the communities and takes into account the environmental assets.

The Canadian diplomat's statements are in response to recent criticism by different sectors, to the contract with Barrick Gold to extract gold near Cotuí.

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