Local July 12, 2012 | 12:51 pm

Local groups escalate battle for nickel mountain

Santo Domingo.- Community leaders, lawmakers and officials of the central cities La Vega and Bonao asked the Chamber of Deputies to put a halt to the mining project at Loma Miranda, by declare the mountain a natural heritage of the Cibao region, in a battle which escalates by the day.

"We’re ready to shed blood if necessary, but our people will not be left without water because of Falcondo’s operations," said Escarlyn Gutierrez, of Communities for Life, in a meeting with the lower Chamber’s Environment Committee, on quick approval of legislation proposed by La Vega deputy Elpidio Infante.

Speaking for the environmentalists, Science Academy member Eleuterio Martinez called the miner Falcondo Xstrata Nickel’s project “unviable.”

Thought the miner has affirmed that the mining project is based on completely environmentally-friendly exploitation techniques, organizations in La Vega and Bonao point to technical reports including by the Science Academy, and have radicalized their stance.

The mine’s opponents say the extraction of nickel from Miranda, 17 kilometers south of La Vega, will damage over 60 rivers and streams whose source is the mountain, and supply water to houses and farmers in San Francisco, Salcedo, Tenares, Villa Tapia, Jima and Cibao communities.

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