Sun, Dec 29, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Dominican gold rush runs into a bureaucratic slowdown

By Ezra Fieser  /  Reuters, COTUI, Dominican Republic

While the successful challenge to the terms of the largest single foreign investment in the country’s history has cast a pall over investment in the sector generally, as has the 25 percent drop in gold prices this year, there remains a third source of uncertainty: bureaucratic delays.

In July, the Dominican Congress passed a law to create a new Ministry of Energy and Mining, intended to help develop the industry. However, no minister has yet been named, and questions swirl over the power of the new entity to regulate the energy sector.

The existing Dominican Mining Management Office has been left relatively powerless, leaving hundreds of applications for new explorations pending.

Precipitate Gold Corp launched a Dominican operation in August last year.

The company, also Canadian, expected an eight-to-12-month approval period to explore about 10,500 hectares in the Central Cordillera, the mountainous area that holds the most promise for future mining projects. More than a year and a half has passed.

Meanwhile, in an effort to improve public perception of mining, the government has launched a public awareness campaign along with the industry that highlights the benefits of mining, like jobs in economically depressed regions.

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