BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DECEMBER 21, 2012
original article here
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti’s government announced Friday that it has awarded permits for the first time in the country’s recent history to allow two companies to openly mine for gold and copper.
The nation’s mining director, Ludner Remarais, said he issued a gold and copper exploitation permit to SOMINE, which is jointly owned by Canadian company Majescor and Haitian investors. Remarais also issued a second gold exploitation permit to VCS, a North Carolina-based mining company with offices in Haiti.
“It allows us to finally produce and make money, at least get to that step,” said Majescor CEO Dan Hachey. “It’s also a great step forward for the mining industry in Haiti.”
The company still has to submit a preliminary environmental assessment although obtaining the permit is the final step to allow open-pit mining, Hachey said. He added that a deadline hasn’t been set.
The company will do additional drilling to better determine where the minerals are located, Hachey said.
“You want to see how far these deposits are, how broad, how wide, how deep, how long,” he said, adding that the company expects to invest about $75 million to get to the production stage for gold mining. He added it will take hundreds of millions of dollars more to reach the production stage for copper mining, which he described as more difficult.
SOMINE engineer Michel Lamarre said he expects exploration to start in 36 to 42 months, adding that the company has already spent $10 million in research.
A VCS official said he could not immediately comment on the company’s plans.
Friday’s announcement comes after U.S. and Canadian investors spent more than $30 million in recent years on exploratory drilling and other mining-related activities in Haiti. In the past year, mining companies launched exploratory drills in Haiti’s northeast region, saying they found precious metals that could be worth up to $20 billion.