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EnviroGold’s mining operations under scrutiny in Dominican Republic

Cotuí residents protest about EnviroGold’s poor mining practices, as the said company is allegedly polluting several water resources.

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Mining is an essential part of various economies as minerals like coal, iron, diamonds, and more are crucial components in trade and construction. As crucial as it may be, not all mining companies employ environment-friendly and sustainable practices, which leads to adverse effects on the surrounding area of their deposits. Now, it’s a problem that citizens of the municipality of Cotuí in the Dominican Republic are facing.

Mining.com reports that residents from El Naranjo, Las Lagunas, La Cerca, and La Piñita in Cotuí, Dominican Republic are calling for a mining company called EnviroGold to pack up and leave. The Las Lagunas-based company is allegedly polluting several water resources in these towns with its mining activities.

Residents even showed the contaminated water, which bore a greenish hue and smelled putrid, to a local TV station. The water and the chemicals in their areas are causing people to contract skin diseases as well as other health issues. EnviroGold has been providing the residents with bottled water, but it does not suffice to meet the residents’ needs.

The impact of EnviroGold’s mining projects has reached the Maguaca river as well because the pipes running through it are releasing toxic chemicals. If the case worsens, animals in the farms downstream could die as a result. It will also be harder for the mining company and the governing body to fully remediate the problem.

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The polluted water has brought a number of health issues, primarily skin diseases, to the residents. (Source)

The protesters are saying that EnviroGold is only intent on extracting gold for its operations and that the company has plans for the installation of a new pipe that would lead a portion of the tailings into the Maguaca river. They add that as of now, the current tailing storage facility of EnvironGold is at full capacity and that it could become unstable once the rainy season arrives.

Despite these allegations, EnviroGold is claiming that it has the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Environment’s authorization to operate. The group also says that its operations are kept at a minimum to lessen the impact on the environment.

Aside from these claims, EnviroGold is also tasked to remediate the high-sulfur tailings left behind in the Las Lagunas Dam by a previous mining entity called Rosario Dominicana. However, it looks like EnviroGold is making things worse rather than better.

It’s no secret that mining can have drastic effects on the environment and the citizens living near the mining sites. Based on the footages revealed by the citizens of the aforementioned towns in Cotuí, EnviroGold’s operations is not as environment-friendly as it says. For now, the residents are hoping that the mining company will be regulated before it causes more harm to those already suffering from its operations.

(Featured image via DepositPhotos)

Leah Marie Angelou is an LGBTI activist, equality advocate, and has been a writer for several feminism-focused groups since 21. She is of African and Taiwanese decent. She now teaches microfinancing to various low-income communities across the East Coast.

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