Anti-mining protests in the Dominican Republic

Anti-mining protest in the Dominican Republic. Image via Esendom.
Hazardous Substances and Waste

Protests in the Dominican Republic send a clear message to multinational gold mining companies: you are not wanted here. Esendom reports:

In Latin America and the Caribbean, foreign, multinational mining companies are facing opposition from local populations whose memories of colonialism, violence and plunder remain alive. Some of the countries where mining has become a contested issue are neighboring Haiti, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina among others.

In the Dominican Republic, ordinary people and in particular, peasants and rural dwellers, are quite aware of the destructive effects mining extraction is having on their daily lives as multinationals unleash toxic waste on nature.

The 2009 fight against the construction of a cement factory in the Haitises National Park spread awareness about the environment. At the same time, as the Dominican state opens up the country to foreign investment, the threat to life on the island shared by both Haiti and the Dominican Republic becomes dire.

In one particular case in Cotuí, a town in Sánchez Ramírez province, the Canadian company Barrick Gold left a trail of destruction. A report published by the Mcgill Research Group Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America summarizes some of that destruction:

Health and environmental hazards have continued to be an issue since the mine achieved commercial production. In September 2014, residents of six communities located next to the mine protested against the health repercussions of soil and air contamination. Tests of residents in four communities revealed their urine and blood contained high levels of cyanide and other heavy metals. The population affirms that the smell of bitter almonds, which is in fact due to cyanide, causes respiratory problems and skin and eye irritation.

Due to more awareness on the aftereffects of mining, people in the Dominican Republic and mobilizing to protect the environment and their livelihoods.

On Feb. 11, thousands marched against gold mining in the southern province of San Juan de la Maguana. When the Ministry of Energy and Mining requested the government to approve a mining concession to GoldQuest, a Canadian mining company, public opinion exploded in anger. That anger as well and growing public indignation with government corruption triggered the recent mass mobilization. The majority of people in San Juan de la Maguana oppose gold mining because it will have negative consequences for agriculture, fauna and human life.

Read more in the full Esendom article.

 

[Image: via Esendom]

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