Economy July 28, 2017 | 2:07 pm

Expert slams Govt. red tape on major gold mine in the west

Goldquest at Hondo Valle, San Juan.

Santo Domingo.- The Energy and Mines Ministry is slow to issue the license to extract gold at the El Romero deposit in western  province San Juan, which could discourage new investments, former Dominican Geology Society president Víctor Santos affirmed Thurs.

“This slow bureaucracy will affect the obtaining of the social license for this project and will have negative effects in attracting new investments in the mining-oil extraction sector in the Dominican Republic,” the expert said.

He said despite that GoldQuest Mining Corp. field the request for the exploitation license more than 21 months ago, the Ministry has yet to approve it.

Quoted by hoy.com.do, Energy and Mines minister Antonio Isa Conde recently called the project complex, with several addendums had been made and whose evaluation was in the final phase.

Santos said the exploitation license is a required step, since its approval will allow the company to request the Terms of Reference in the Environment Ministry, which in turn will conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment to determine if the extraction would be environmentally and socially sustainable.

“After Goldquest had spent more than 10 years exploring the site and discovered the deposit five years ago at a cost of RD$1.2 billion, with an estimated over a million ounces of gold, have been waiting for more than 21 months for a permit that doesn’t warrant such an in-depth evaluation by Energy and Mines, because ultimately the mine will be designed according to Environment’s requirements,” Santos said.

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