Getting a mining permit in the Dominican Republic will take no more than four months from the moment a company submits its formal application, reports ListinDiario.com (in Spanish).
In a meeting with the local branch of the American Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, the country’s director of mining, Alexander Medina, said the Caribbean nation is sitting on over $60 billion of proven mineral and metal reserves based on current prices.
The speedy deadline would let companies from all over the world to have a piece of that enticing pie, said Medina. However, he added the measure it will apply only to requests received in 2013, as his ministry is currently processing 290 exploration applications.
From the proposals received prior to 2013, Medina said companies that can demonstrate they have all the resources needed to begin exploration and those that have met obligations in concessions previously awarded will be given priority.
According the Dominican Geology Society (Sodogeo), the underground hidden treasure trove comprises about 27 million ounces of gold, 168 million ounces of silver, 652 million pounds of copper, 6 billion pounds of zinc and 25 million pounds of nickel.
But analysts such as Carlos Cardenas, Deputy Head of Latin America Forecasting for Exclusive Analysis, a UK-based risk consultancy with 1,200 analysts spread across the globe, fear the resources may remain unexploited for years as local opposition are already causing delays and contract cancellations.
Xstrata (LON:XTA), Barrick Gold (NYSE & TSX: ABX) and Goldcorp (NYSE: GG,TSX:G) are the major miners with presence in the Dominican Republic. The firms have a combined total of 14 exploration and exploitation projects in different parts of the country.
(Image by Menna)