ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT
BARRICK GOLD COAL PLANT
In 2002, the Dominican Government had contracted with Placer Dome to exploit Cotuí Gold Mines. This contract gave 25% of net profits to the country. He noted that after the company recouping the investment capital (about 350 million dollars), the Dominican state was left holding 51% of the shares. In addition, the lands expropriated from the peasants for the exploitation, as well as the environmental remediations had to be covered by the mining company.
By 2006, Barrick Gold had bought Placer Dome’s mining rights and immediately “demanded” that the Leonel government change the previous contract to another that only benefits the multinational. The new contract removed 25% of the net profits for the country, now that the “claimed” investment was of 4.5 billion dollars and the state would have to wait for the company to recoup it completely before the majority of the shares could be in the name of the people and State. Now the contract was 97/3, that is, of every 100 pesos generated in the mines, 97 were of the company and 3 for the country.
Expropriations and environmental remediation now had to be paid by the state, that is, the Dominican people. This abusive contract, was sent by the President with the recommendation that they approve it immediately. For which, “the congressmen” did not have to read it, not even to know what it was. They just had to approve.
The disregard of the president and the congressmen against this country did not stop there, and immediately a permit was given to the company to install an coal fired power plant in the Cayo de Barahona area. This plant would produce the energy that the company demanded for the mines of Cotuí. And to bring the energy from Barahona to Cotuí, an “electric avenue” had to be built from Barahona, passin through Azua, Ocoa, Bonao and crossing the Sanchez and Duarte highways.
Immediately the “crazy people” that we are, from Barahona, those that oppose the gold-diggers that call this “development”, we looked for information about this type of coal power plants and we found that in the United States, those plants had been prohibited because it was verified the coal used, produced very toxic gases and particles and that in that nation were the cause, of at least 19% of abortions or abnormal births of children and the increase, by 150%, of cancer deaths in adults, in the areas where these plants were located.
This data was found in works written by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Earth Policy Institute, both from the United States. We gave our voice of warning and opposed that crime against this impoverished province and then the “bastard developers” showed up there and accused us of being enemies of development.
Some “political leaders and union leaders of the ruling party” voiced at the top of their lungs, “let the coal plant come now” with it, development will come to Barahona! It was later rumored that these characters had received payment for their “work” and then the same characters were used by the Barrick Gold for “delivery of backpacks and notebooks to children” especially in what is now Central Villa.
In other words, Barahona would be used as a cheap energy production center for the mining company and we would receive fly ash and thus gain the abortions, birth abnormalities of our children and the increase of cancerous diseases, and let’s not forget that some members of the “gold-diggers” were going to receive payment for their support and prostitution.
Another aspect that we would gain was the fact that the leached water from the damp coal piles deposited in the ravine (action to be done constantly) would drain as wastewater to the Caribbean Sea in the area behind the deposit; Which involved massive poisoning of fish by the ingestion of mercury and other chemicals contained in the coal. Fish that we would also eat.
This crime could only be avoided when in an “encounter” organized by Barrick Gold in Costa Larimar, the most committed voices with the Sustainable Development spoke and showed copies of the damages those plants cause to the health. Those voices silenced the voices of the “paid” ones, and in the end, Bishop Felipe Nunez said “gentlemen of the Barrick, gather your belongings, now that Barahona has spoken, and here, you are not wanted”.
It is very unfortunate that in Cotuí people get contaminated, sick and die, their waters are polluted, their lives are reduced and the money that the company earns, the government places them as part of the Economic Growth and as development of our country. Have you seen the devil?
We will continue on another occasion, my dear friends.
Rafael Matos Féliz
For Sustainable Development
For Sustainable Development