Carlos Cardenas, Deputy Head of Latin America Forecasting for Exclusive Analysis, a UK-based risk consultancy with 1,200 analysts spread across the globe, said on Thursday environmental protests are increasingly likely to cause delays and increase contract cancellation risks to nickel and gold mining in the Dominican Republic. “On 11 November 2012, Congressman Adriano Sánchez Roa, of the ruling PLD Party, rejected the award of a licence to Canadian mining firm Unigold, claiming it would threaten environmentally protected areas, particularly the Manolo Tavárez Justo National Park. “The rejection comes at a time of increasing anti-mining protests.
On 1 October, the La Vega provincial court ordered the suspension of Xstrata subsidiary, Xstrata Nickel Falcondo’s Loma Miranda project and granted third-party access to the site. The project is opposed by locals and NGOs, including the Padre Rogelio Foundation, on environmental grounds and local landowners such as former Governor Chestaro and Senator Félix Nova. On 19 October 2012, Xstrata confirmed it would challenge the judgement. “There have been protests outside the Loma Miranda site in La Vega and between September and November 2012, opponents of the project have demonstrated outside the presidential palace, foreign mining companies’ offices and the Canadian Embassy in Santo Domingo. “Protests against the Pueblo Viejo project have led to violence. Between 28 September and 5 October 2012, violence broke out at the mine and fires were set in streets of nearby Cotui. Twenty protestors were injured during confrontations with the police. The protests at Pueblo Viejo are primarily focused on demands for local spending and jobs for local residents.