Local October 11, 2013 | 8:58 am

Senator says Glencore Xstrata blackmails Dominicans with nickel mine

Santo Domingo.- The exploitation of Loma Miranda by Glencore Xstrata’s local miner poses a threat to around 30,000 jobs in farming activities, rice crops, and livestock production, in addition to jeopardizing its economic benefit as a "mine of water."

La Vega province senator Euclides Sanchez made the warning Friday, one day after a violent confrontation in front of Congress between groups opposed to the project and Xstrata Falcondo workers resulted in several minor injuries.

“We shouldn’t think just about jobs, especially jobs that harm the environment. Loma Miranda is a water mine,” the lawmaker said.

He said he understands the concern in Bonao on the loss of jobs, for which he favors “special situation provided by the government,” and cited an increased investment in Bonao’s free zone parks.

“Loma Ortega is being exploited by Falcondo, it’s our heritage, it’s part of agribusiness, they talk of 700 jobs in the project, but what about the 30,000 jobs that the mine could wipe out,” Sanchez said.

National Park

Interviewed on Hoy Mismo channel 9, the senator for La Vega also slammed government for in his view “failing to appreciate the Dominican Science Academy’s assessment of the project,” and vowed to help push a bill approved the Chamber of Deputies to declare Loma Miranda a national park

“Bonao can be provided with up to 2,000 jobs. Miranda feed the dam at Rincon, It’s where the Chacuey river is born, they are critical for agribusiness in the northeast,” he said.

Blackmail

“Falcondo blackmails the government. They picketed the Science Academy, they organized protest at congress,” the lawmaker said, adding that “when you are right, you don’t have to stoke conflicts with anyone.”

He said the conflict over Loma Miranda has spurred all Dominicans to be on watch for the protection of their zones. “Loma Miranda will be declared National Park. President Danilo Medina is a fair man, he’s respectful, he has allowed this issue to expand and be debated.”

“The Senate will approve it, because it has to respect national and international criteria. President medina will sign it into law and with that, provide incentives for Bonao, with more intense agriculture,” Sanchez said.

He said he has defended Falcondo’s workers in the past. “Remember that just a few years ago Falcondo abandoned them and the government had to go and help them. We can’t continue with the mentality of the mirror like with Spain, we have to protect our resources.”

“The environment is critical to the lives of human beings, look at Haiti, it’s mostly a desert."

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