Haiti’s copper and silver reserves in its hills are now up for an extensive exploitation by a Canadian corporation that has reportedly damaged the neighboring Dominican Republic.
Once this mining plan is authorized while Haiti is under foreign occupation, it could practically leave the country without its ecological, cultural and mineral wealth.
Moreover, concerns surrounding the mining venture have been raised as the operation calls for the construction of a deep-water port in the northeastern part of the country, posing a significant threat to their marine ecosystem.
The biggest water reservoir that is near the mining operations is at constant risk of cyanide contamination, adding to the reports that the firm has been previously accused of destroying Indian archeological sites by using dynamites on mountainsand.
Geologists of the United Nations have documented significant pockets of copper and gold in 1970s but at that time, foreigners were not willing to risk their money in an unstable and corrupt country.
Surprisingly, it was not after the 2010 earthquake that outside investment was encouraged and investors discovered a good opportunity. In fact, just 2 weeks after the catastrophe, a Canadian exploration company purchased all the stocks of the only Haitian company which has full permits in exchange for an area of land, practically appearing as a scam.
Three companies are already considering prospects of mining in Haiti but at present, only Somine has complete concessions to bring the metals out of the area. The said permits for 31 square miles were negotiated in 1996 during the presidency of Rene Preval and which required the company to hire Haitians.
According to the parties interested in the mining prospects:
“What we’re most excited about is that we found some silver which was never really realized before. It’s the first silver discovery in Haiti. Part of the reason why it was never really discovered was that historically there was so much copper prevalent — there’s a lot of outcropping at surface. The people who did the work before did not do much testing, even for gold. The geology is a little complex for a copper porphyry, but in a good way. The surprises that we’re getting are all good ones.”