Dominican Republic

Lower house declares Loma Miranda a national park, Glencore's project at risk

Bnamericas Published: Friday, October 04, 2013
The Dominican Republic's lower house voted in favor of the creation of the Loma Miranda national park, putting the expansion of global commodities giant Glencore Xstrata's (LSE: GLEN) Loma Miranda nickel project at risk. The vote took place on October 1, and took into account the recommendation issued by the United Nations Devcelopment Program (UNDP) and the national academy of science, which determined that the site was not adequate for mining explotation, local daily Hoy reported. Local communities had also requested legislators go ahead with the creation of the park, to safeguard the area's biodiversity, which is situated in the central Cibao region. The decision now moves to the country's senate. On Thursday (Oct 3) a group of workers from Glencore's local operations met with senate vice president Cristina Lizardo, to present to her a letter asking for a reversal of the lower house vote, a senate statement reads. Geologist Rafael Osiris de Leon told local newscaster CDN that if the senate ratifies the park's creation, the government could be sued by Glencore, asking for monetary compensation due to the loss of the mining rights that were granted for 75 years and expire in 2030. The proposed expansion at Loma Miranda, near the current Falcondo mine, is important for the continuity of operations there, since the mine's useful life is dwindling. Glencore Xstrata owns 85% of the outstanding shares of Falcondo, which produced 15,186t of nickel contained in ferronickel in 2012.

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