Dominican Republic president slams Barrick Gold
Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina on Wednesday called the Barrick Gold contract “unacceptable” to the government.
Speaking before Congress, Medina repeated the warning of a “prudent deadline” for the miner to respond to an “invitation” to talks toward modifying the exploitation contract.
“I promise you that Barrick will not get all the benefits,” he said.
The mere mention of the government’s dispute with Barrick Gold Pueblo Viejo Corp drew applause, and occurred three times during that topic.
“It’s the biggest investment in Dominican Republic’s history. Gold prices reached as high as 1,900 dollars per ounce. I believe that Barrick Gold is a serious company with a US$3.0 billion investment (in D.R.), known for its best practices, and im quoting president Obama, “when times change, we should also.”
Reveals dozens of meetings since August
“We haven’t been able to obtain an amendment despite holding dozens of meetings, they have offered only the possibility of paying allotments in advance,” the chief executive said, but noted that “what Barrick Gold proposes doesn’t jibe with our ethical and moral character.”
He said under the current tax formula, Barrick Pueblo Viejo would recover its investment in just 2 years, something “never seen before, since the state would be getting only crumbs in those 2 years.”
“Barrick gets 97 dollars, the people get three,” he said. “My countrymen, I admit that our government is to blame but also Barrick, but the situation changed.”
“I make a last call to Barrick Gold to enter into an agreement, we’ve been patient till now, but our patience wavers when we see extreme poverty in the streets, the government will not standby in dealing with Barrick,” Medina said, while threatening to submit legislation to tax mines, if it doesn’t respond toe the government’s request within a prudent period”
“Those who know me know that I prefer to speak with deeds, not words, the rights of sovereignty will not be violated.”
He said the legislation would deal with unexpected income from metals by indexing values.
Tit for tat
Medina noted that the government once agreed with Barrick Gold to change tax provisions in the contract to the miner’s benefit. “Now it’s time to accept our invitation to revision.”
Medina’s 1 hour, 37 minute address was speckled with calls for optimism and renewed hope. “A new hope is rising in our nation, we forge ahead despite obstacles. A new country is born which knows that you can spark a peaceful revolution, one which knows how to revolutionize for a better education, opportunities…let’s get to work.”