by Evens Sanon and Danica Coto Associated Press, December 21, 2012 (AP). Originally at ABC News.
Haiti’s government announced Friday that it has awarded permits for the first time in the country’s history to allow two companies to openly mine for gold and copper.
The nation’s mining director, Ludner Remarais, said he hopes the move will bring a badly needed burst of money to the impoverished Caribbean country of 10 million people where many live on a $1.25 a day.
Remarais issued a gold and copper exploitation permit to SOMINE SA, which is jointly owned by Canadian company Majescor Resources Inc. and Haitian investors. Remarais issued a second gold exploitation permit to VCS Mining LLC, a North Carolina-based mining company with offices in Haiti.
Deep in Haiti’s northern mountains, a half-dozen supervisors at a mining exploration site spent their days playing dominoes at a folding table next to a helicopter pad. For weeks they waited in La Miel, off a dirt road deep in the countryside, for Haiti’s government to give them the go-ahead to search for the gold they believe is buried in the hills around them. Fig Newtons and water bottles filled the shelves of their staff tent. On a whiteboard, in scratchy handwriting, was a single-item to-do list for the week: Change $83,000 into Haitian gourdes.
A mile west, a team of locals with shovels widened a dirt road and lined it with a drainage ditch. They were paid by Newmont, the Colorado mining company working at La Miel, to prepare local roads for heavy mining machinery, which moved here when Newmont got permission to dig.