Busy year in Dominican Republic

Nineteen ninety-four was an active year for the mining industry in the Dominican Republic, particularly in the metallic and non-metallic sectors.

Exports of ferronickel, gold and other mineral products favored the country’s commercial trade to the extent of US$183.8 million. Indeed, the national trade deficit of US$1.5 million was partly offset by the mining industry.

Some 27,960 tonnes of nickel contained in ferronickel were extracted at the nickel laterite deposits of Falconbridge Dominicana in Bonao. This is equivalent to 67 million lb.

Export sales of nickel in ferronickel amounted to US$34.9 million, while gold-silver exports exceeded US$18.8 million.

State-owned Rosaro Pueblo Viejo continues to operate its open-pit mine in the country. Production totaled 51,399 oz. gold and 298,670 oz. silver.

On the exploration front, Falconbridge Dominicana carried out drilling on the Cerro Maimon deposit where, to date, close to 4 million tons grading 4% copper have been defined. Also, Rosario Dominicana continued to evaluate the Neita Fiscal reserve near the Haitian border.

Meanwhile, Minera Hispaniola (a joint venture involving Canyon Resources and Battle Mountain Gold) continued drill-testing its Centenario gold deposit at El Higo. The deposit represents the first new gold occurrence discovered on the Dominican side of the Island of Hispaniola, where 5 million tonnes averaging 5 grams gold have been outlined. The partners have applied for exploitation rights in order to begin development.

BHP Minerals, the newest mining company to become established in the country, continued geochemical sampling, trenching and drilling in the Eastern Cordillera region, where several base and precious metals showings are present.

The Dominican Republic foresees continued growth in the metallic and non-metallic industries, as well as increased exploration for minerals and petroleum, and the establishment of a national geological survey. Recent press announcements have pointed out that mining alone accounted for growth of the gross national product by 4%.

— Gerald Ellis is the director general of mining for the Dominican Republic.


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