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New minister wants to update Dominican Republic’s mining law

Pueblo Viejo mine in Dominican Republic. Image from Barrick.

The new Minister of Energy and Mines of the Dominican Republic, Antonio Almonte, announced that his office will push for Congress to reform the mining law. 

A bill related to this matter was presented by the country’s previous mining minister and Almonte, who was assigned to his post in July by president-elect Luis Abinader, said he wants to update it and add the input of mining companies and other sectors.

Antonio Almonte wants to update the mining law and add the input of mining companies and other sectors

According to the minister, mining is key for the Dominican Republic’s GDP and foreign exchange earnings so, in his view, it must be done in a responsible manner within an updated legal framework that allows for the safeguarding of the interests of the state and those of the community.

Among others, companies operating on the island include Barrick Gold and Newmont Goldcorp, whose Pueblo Viejo gold-silver mine produced 590,000 ounces of gold in 2019; Canada’s Unigold, which owns the Nieta gold project some 200 kilometres north of Santo Domingo; and Precipitate Gold, whose Pueblo Grande project has granted it a $10-million investment from Barrick.

Local media report that Almonte – an engineer who specializes in nuclear energy – also wants to propose an update to Law 57-07, which tackles the provision of incentives to alternative and renewable energy sources, particularly to the private sector.

Before going ahead with such incentives and promoting environmentally friendlier projects, however, it is necessary to update transmission lines and substations as – the government official said – there is only one robust transmission network in the entire country.