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HAITI
Gold fever
7/19/2013
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Government seeks to boost mega-mining at any cost.

A recent investigation by Ayiti Kale Je revealed the intentions of the Haitian government to facilitate transnational mining corporations’ exploitation of minerals in the country.

According to Ayiti Kale Je — an initiative in which alternative media and community radios participate — some 4,000 km² (1545 square miles), an equivalent to 15% of the national territory, are currently under concession  by foreign companies for mining exploration and exploitation. Experts say that gold, silver, and copper reserves are worth about US$20 billion.

In February the Senate decided to suspend mining exploration and exploitation projects, denouncing the looting of mining resources since the 15th century and the inability of the state to carry out balanced negotiations for the extraction of these materials.

However, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, a businessman with investments in telecommunications and real estate, has committed to promoting legislation that is favorable to companies in all sectors.  Through such, the state will receive a just fair compensation, and the environment and communities will be protected.

Combating the justification that the wealth in mining will help bring Haiti out of poverty, Lamothe will seek to strike down the main resource protection clauses, including the one establishing that mining companies and the state will share profits equally, the report suggests.

During an early-June meeting organized by the World Bank about the development of the mining sector in Haiti, Dieuseul Anglade, former Director of the Office of Mining and Energy, stated his concerns about open-pit mining because of the need to use large quantities of cyanide to extract gold.

In addition, American professor Alex Dupuy told Ayiti Kale Je that “the mining industry does not use a lot of labor, and the locals that would be hired would be unskilled workers. The specialized laborers will come from abroad because generally these companies bring their own technology. Everything will happen as before: the mining companies will expropriate land from farmers, contracts will be written according to the foreign company, which does not necessarily mean that it will act in the best interests of the country, although [the company] will present everything as advantageous for Haiti.”

 “Until now”, says Ayiti Kale Je, “the mining mega-industry and its accomplice, the Haitian government, seem to maintain the traditional modus operandi of mineral exploitation. In the northern mountains of the country, where the mining companies have begun gathering [mineral] samples, lives tens of thousands of peasant families.
 
However, according to journalists from the community radios of the region, never has even the shadow of an employee of the Ministry of the Environment been seen
.”—Latinamerica Press.


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