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Pueblo Viejo pushes Dominican Republic gold exports beyond US$1bn

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gold exports from the Dominican Republic increased 582% to US$1.19bn last year, according to a report by the country's central bank.

The growth, from US$175mn in 2012, was driven by the Pueblo Viejo gold-silver mine, a 60:40 JV between Canada's Barrick Gold (NYSE, TSX: ABX) and Goldcorp(TSX: G, NYSE: GG), which started commercial production in January 2013.

Gold was by far the country's biggest export by value for the year, ahead of aircraft fuel at US$526mn. Silver exports were up 135% at US$60.2mn from US$25.6mn in 2012, also due to production from Pueblo Viejo.

Exports of ferronickel declined substantially in the year, falling 41.2% to US$157.mn.

Global commodities giant Glencore Xstrata (LSE: GLEN) announced the suspension of its Falcondo nickel mine in the Dominican Republic in October, citing lower prices, and it remains unclear whether the company will continue to have a mining presence in the country.

Overall, the mining industry grew by 157% in 2013 compared to the previous year, measured by added value, the report said.

The country's total exports increased to US$9.65bn from US$9.07bn, mainly a result of the higher gold exports, partly offset by lower sugar, cacao, ferronickel and aircraft fuel exports.

Mining in the Dominican Republic is set for continued steep growth, Alexander Medina, head of the government's mining management office, told BNamericas earlier in March.

Part of this growth will come from ramping up Pueblo Viejo, which is due to reach peak production this year. Barrick expects its 60% share of production to be 600-700,000oz gold in 2014, compared to 488,000oz last year.

To see the full central bank report, in Spanish, click here.

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