Mining - Dominican R.

Environmental groups call for halt to Xstrata's Falcondo mine

Environmental groups call for halt to Xstrata's Falcondo mine

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Environmental groups are calling for the Dominican Republic's government to ban nickel mining at multinational resource group Xstrata's (LSE: XTA) Falcondo mine in the Loma Miranda area of La Vega province, because they feel it affects the country's main water reserve. The area is located in the central region of the country.

"It's a peaceful protest held by environmental groups, which are also based in other countries," national mining director Alexander Medina told BNamericas.

Medina also emphasized that the government is committed to the exploration and extraction of mineral resources in an environmentally responsible manner, and in accordance with the law.

Environmental groups have also demanded that the exploration of gold and silver deposits in the Restauración-Dajabón area along the Haitian border be stopped, a project being carried out by Toronto-based Unigold (TSX-V: UGD). Groups have also called for a halt to gold projects in the Loma Mala area in Monseñor Nouel province, and in the Sierra de los Siete Picos area in Monte Plata, though no specific projects were mentioned.

According to the official, these are requests made by groups that simply aim to limit mining activities. Medina clarified that mining and other human activities in the central mountain region are restricted throughout the country's national parks and protected areas, which cover over 80% of the region.

"The Dominican government will respect the established protected areas and will only allow exploration and potential mining in unrestricted areas," Medina said.

The recently launched Pueblo Viejo gold mine, operated by Canadian miner Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX), is not located in any of the affected areas, but rather in the province of Sánchez Ramírez.