Barrick Gold Field Report Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC

This paper studies the impact of the mining company Barrick Gold in their Pueblo Viejo Project located in Cotuí, Dominican Republic. Many studies have been done to the actions of this company around the world, but this paper examines the situation of their project in the Dominican Republic and the effects that has caused both in the society and economy. This paper examines the Barrick Gold Corporation and the Protest Barrick Gold’s information provided by their respective websites. This article also offers insight into the opinion of a Cotuí intellectual and a candidate for Congress. It was considered for this article the opposition side of the story, as it is the defense of the country’s welfare.

Barrick Gold’s Impact in the Dominican Republic’s Society and Economy
The project studied is located in Pueblo Viejo, Cotui, world-class mineral resource and one of the biggest non-developed gold deposits. Through the development of the project, the Barrick Gold has been able to get the results they wanted from the mine, but there have been several discussions within the Dominican population over the disadvantages that it has brought to the economy of the country. Moreover, the Dominican State has a prior interest for the country to develop economically, generating jobs and taxes. But as the project develops, it is noticed the increasing damage that Barrick Gold’s actions have on the environment of the country, especially in Cotuí. The main fear of the cotuisanos is that within 25 years, when Barrick completes its work, they will be left in a contaminated town, with no natural resources and without the benefit of the billions of dollars in resources that it’s being extracted at the moment (Protest Barrick Gold, 2007).

Ever since colonial time, gold in Dominican Republic has been quite an attraction to many different countries where gold is not so abundant or not easy to access. It is with the interest of economical development that the Dominican State signed a contract with Barrick Gold, the multinational Canadian gold industry dedicated to the largest gold extraction in the world. The contract was signed after Barrick Gold bought the Placer Dome Company’s rights, which is with whom the contract was originally arranged for (Barrick Gold Corporation, 2007).

Once proposed this mining project, one of many promises that holds the Barrick Gold’s press release to the population was that the State would have the advantage to receive 50% from the total benefit of the project, though the contract only guaranteed 3.2% from the Net Smelter Royalty for the State (Barrick Gold Corporation, 2007). On the other hand, the previous contract with the Placer Dome Company guaranteed 50% from the total benefit. It was noted that this was precisely the reason why Barrick Gold, after buying the Placer Dome rights, demanded for the government to renegotiate the contract with the purpose of eliminating 25% of the participation (Protest Barrick Gold, 2007).

The Barrick Gold Company is also known for exploiting gold mines in many countries throughout the world in a very threatening way. It is also known for

establishing specially in underdeveloped countries. Experts in mining business consider a shame for

the National Congress to have approved such a contract with the Barrick Gold Company, stating that the Dominican State gives up to 40 and 50 billion dollars to the mining company, given the prices. With this resources given away, the Dominican State could pay foreign debts, resolve energy problems and other issues that would promote the development of the country. This is one of many reasons why the population recognizes they have been deceived and therefore, oppose the contract.

Vicente Luna, Cotuí intellectual, and one of the singing voices in the discussion against Barrick Gold, draws attention to the use of dynamite by this company and the pollution that it is developing because of the method implemented (Protest Barrick Gold, 2007). In addition to that, the project that takes place in Pueblo Viejo, Cotui, has also generated damages for the environment. One of these damages is that the explosions can affect the foundations of the dam of Hatillo.

To produce an ounce of 24 karat is to grind 18,000 tons of contaminated land, investing 190,000 gallons of water and use a large amount of mercury, a highly polluting chemical, poisoning both groundwater and surface water (Mining Right Scientifics , 2008). There is no doubt that this country is living a water shortage and that every living needs it to survive. “For us it is gold or death,” says Virmani Arzeno, Cotuí candidate for Congress, who accuses the government and Congress who supported the contract or made a quorum at the time to gain approval (Protest Barrick Gold, 2007).

The contamination produced by the actions of this mining company could get to the food crops and provoke catastrophic diseases, such as cancer, to the Dominican population, especially to the habitants of Cotuí. The ordinary cotuisano doesn’t have an idea as elaborateas to realize the risk they take. For them, the operation of the mine is a source of employment for area residents. Clearly, pessimism beats optimism. It was noted that as long as they have an economic resource income to bring food to their table they are willing to take a blind look into the consequences of the powerful chemicals Barrick Gold uses that could damage their health. There are studies that alert people to eat fish form the waters of Cotuí’s rivers because of contamination by heavy metals. Vicente Luna admits that before there was Barrick Gold, a passive environmental contamination existed, though never as its current situation (Protest Barrick Gold, 2007).

It is unfortunate that the country has allowed the installation of this mining company knowing that the State doesn’t have the proper structure needed to support the environment problems occasioned by the project. Clearly, since the beginning of the project the greatest benefactor has not been the Dominican Republic but the entrepreneurs of the Barrick Gold. Even in their country of origin, Canada, people have protested against the material ambitions of the company, though the Canadian president supports it (Barrick Gold Corporation, 2007). Also, the prior limitation that has been observed to catch the population’s attention is the company as a source of employment. It was observed that Barrick Gold generated around 3,000 jobs to the population.

The government, along with the Barrick Gold, are the ones who have in their hands the solution to the problem (pollution) that the residents of Cotuí are fighting. Truth is, in Cotuí the opposition to the Barrick Gold’s actions is growing. The manifestation of the habitants of Cotuí united would create more awareness of the problem around the country, and therefore, awake the interest of other cities and its leaders to help defend the rights of these people affected. Only the protest of a great amount of habitants could stop this situation, and not much interest is being demonstrated at the moment.

The problem doesn’t end with the part of the population that started to work on the mine. College students should be studying the situation more in-depth to reach a solution to the abuse that is taking place in Pueblo Viejo, Cotuí. Truth is that the Dominican population doesn’t realize how important it is to gather their voices to defend their survival and the existence of the infinite ambitions of the Barrick Gold. Unless necessary measures are taken now, all waters of the country will be contaminated, and it could be really late by the time the population demands non-contaminated water that they need to survive.

References

Barrick Gold Corporation. (2007). Barrick Global Operations Pueblo Viejo. (Barrick Gold) Retrieved 2011, from Barrick: http://www.barrick.com/default.aspx?SectionId=ba291551-44c9-4c4e-abd6-bc9246046aaa&LanguageId=1 Mining Right Scientifics . (2008). Minig Right. Retrieved 2011, from Mining: http://www.mining.com/ Protest Barrick Gold. (2007). Protestbarrick. (S. S. Natalie Lowrey, Editor) Retrieved 2011, from Protest Mining Barric Gold: http://protestbarrick.net/section.php?id=4

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