| 13 ENE 2012, 12:00 AM

Worry in Bonao and La Vega over mining exploration

They warn that mines exploited by Falcondo will affect Jima River


LA VEGA. The mining exploitation at the Loma de Miranda by the Falcondo Xstrata Nickel Company has generated some worry in the provinces of La Vega and Monsignor Nouel over the effects of this initiative will have on the environment.

Ecologists and neighbors of the area fear that the solid wastes and gases of the exploitation will accelerate the degradation of the soils and the air in the area.

The working of the mine supposedly would impact the Jima River, which is the source of the drinking water for the communities along the Lower Yuna Basin.

The coordinator of the movement called "the Committee Pro Healthy Watershed" of the province of Monsignor Nouel, Eduardo Garcia, said that the project will affect strongly the flora and fauna of the region.

"Wherever there is an open sky exploitation of a mine the air and soils are contaminated," said the environmentalist.

Nevertheless, the outside manager of Falcondo Xstrata Nickel, Luis Jose Lopez, denied that the project will have a devastating effect to the detriment of the natural resources.

"We have a plan of progressive mining, instead of opening and removing the topsoil from different places, we only open on place that is reforested before moving to another point," explained Lopez.

He said that the material used by Falcondo in its production process is running out, but with the exploitation of Miranda they can guarantee 23 years more of the company's operation.

"Soon we will be delivering the environmental impact study of the project, which is being carried out by a highly qualified foreign company," said Jose Lopez.

Still the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources has not granted the definitive permits for the exploitation of the Loma de Miranda to the mining company.

Antonio Bruno, a country resident in the area, who is 76 years old, said that his main fear is that the exploitation of the mine will contaminate the Jagüey River, which brings him his drinking water.

"Can you imagine, if they contaminate the river, where will we have to go to get water," warned the old man.

Deputy demands

As he addressed a press conference in the Congress, the PRD deputy for La Vega, Elpidio Infante, said he would ask the Chamber of Deputies to designate a commission to monitor the concessions, licenses or permits that the Dominican state grants to the Falcondo mining company. He suggested that a special commission monitor the Loma de Miranda project. He asked for, besides all this, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to order the provisional suspension of the removal of nickel by the mining company in the Loma de Miranda, until the investigations are completed.

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