The Fight For Loma Miranda In Dominican Republic

Loma Miranda - Image / La Vega, RD

This week "dozens" of Dominicans from different environmental organizations and social movements, took part in a four day walk from Loma Miranda in Bonao, to the nacional palace in Santo Domingo (about 60 miles away).

The pilgrimage was performed to deliver to President Danilo Medina a letter expressing a request against the exploitation of Loma Miranda by the mining company Falcondo, a subsidiary of Xstrata Plc, an Anglo-Swiss multinational mining company headquartered in Zug, Switzerland.
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At the same time, members of the Chamber of Commerce and former employees of Falconbridge, led a demonstration through the streets of Bonao to promte their demand for jobs and the approval of Loma Miranda extraction.

The fight for Loma Miranda has been an ongoing battle for several years now. Enviromentalist and locals seeking to protect this ecological system, are petitioning the government to name Loma Miranda a national park.

While many seeking work point to Falcondo's claim that the granting of Loma Miranda would bring benefits to the country in payment of taxes at around 75 billion pesos, with around two thousand jobs created for workers of La Vega and Bonao, generating about 30 billion pesos in income.

Politicians involved in the matter have publicly demonstrated their support for granting Falcondo the right to mine the area.

El Nacional reports, that the Administrator of the Presidency, Jose Ramon Peralta, favors responsible mining in Loma Miranda, provided that the environment is protected. Peralta says that there are many people who have spoken in favor of the exploitation of Loma Miranda, and others who think it should be protected, but that he personally is in favor of responsible mining.

Falcondo has promised to seek a course of responsible mining. But in May of 2013, The United Nations Development Programme said an environmental study conducted by Glencore Xstrata Plc (GLEN) at a mine in the Dominican Republic is incomplete and ferronickel exploration at the site should be reconsidered [Bloomberg].
"The environmental impact study is, according to our evaluation, incomplete and superficial,” Valerie Julliand, UNDP’s representative in the Dominican Republic, said in a news conference in Santo Domingo. The company’s study failed to consider the mine’s impact on local communities, drinking water and the environment, and the project “does not address environmental and social demands” of the country.

Falcondo's "incomplete and superficial" report regarding the exploitation of Loma Miranda, was presented one year after a violent 8 day protest against the minig practices of Xstrata Plc in Lima, Peru.

Protesters cited pollution, animals deaths and unfair distribution of earnings -- requesting that Xstrata should increase from three to 30 per cent the amount of earnings it was investing in local economic development.

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