Dominican Republic

Barrick’s DomRep tailings plans spark violent protest

Bnamericas Published: Friday, April 30, 2021
Barrick’s DomRep tailings plans spark violent protest

Barrick Gold’s Dominican Republic subsidiary Barrick Pueblo Viejo postponed talks with communities on a proposed tailings storage overhaul following violent protests.

A group of residents in Yamasá municipality stopped 15 bus loads of people from surrounding communities from attending the dialog, which was aimed at providing information about the proposals and listening to residents’ concerns and needs, the company was quoted as saying by local daily Listín Diario.

Barrick is seeking environmental approval for an expansion of its tailings storage facilities, which is a vital part of its Pueblo Viejo expansion project.

The US$1.3bn project will extend the life of Pueblo Viejo, Latin America’s biggest gold producer, until the 2040s.

The Toronto-based company could be forced to close the mine or see output fall sharply if it is not able to advance the expansion.

“Hundreds of communities were threatened by this group [from Yamasá] and 15 buses of people planning to participate in the talks were stopped, infringing on their right to free passage,” Barrick Pueblo Viejo was reported as saying in a statement.

“Democracy was totally violated by this group, affecting the whole community.”

Police later used teargas to disperse the demonstrations, while video footage showed protesters throwing objects at police before fleeing.

Protesters claim that a tailings dam is being forced on them and it would pollute local rivers, El Nuevo Diario reported.

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