Companies upbeat on Haiti prospects-Added COMMENTARY By Haitian-Truth
SANTO DOMINGO (miningweekly.com) – Foreign mining companies are upbeat on their prospects in Haiti, which offers strong mineral potential and a new business-friendly government.
“We believe there’s substantial potential for discovery there,” says US-based Eurasian Minerals CEO David Cole.
The company has a joint venture with US-based gold major Newmont to develop six areas covering more than 130 km of strike along northern Haiti’s Massif du Nord mineral belt. Newmont manages the project and has so far invested $30-million in it, Cole says.
While some drilling has been conducted, it’s still at an early stage. “It’s not nearly far enough to start talking about production,” Cole says. “We’re very much in the exploration phase.”
Meanwhile, Canada-based Majescor expects to get exploitation permits by the end of the year, according to president and CEO Daniel Hachey. “We are very optimistic about the outlook for our SOMINE project in Haiti,” he says.
Hachey expects to have a technical report on the Douvray copper porphyry prospect before the end of January. He also plans to implement a 10 000 m drilling programme for 2013, which will be focused on the Blondin copper prospect, the Faille B gold prospect and the Douvray copper prospect.
Majescor says it’s too early to announce a production schedule. “As we are at the early stages of work, it is difficult to pinpoint a specific timetable for production and exporting at this time,” Hachey says.
Euroasian Minerals, Newmont and Majescor have been motivated by the potential in a country adjacent to the Dominican Republic, where Barrick Gold and other mining companies have been successful in finding and producing gold and copper.
“The rocks don’t stop at the Haitian border,” Cole says.
Hachey agrees. “Haiti is attractive because of the interesting mineralised trend that runs from the south-east corner of the island of Hispaniola to the north-west corner,” he says.
Hachey also points out that despite the damage from the 2010 earthquake, Haiti is now benefiting from a combination of billions of dollars in foreign aid and a new pro-business government led by President Michel Martelly, who assumed office in May last year.
“Martelly … has shown to be pro-business and the government has a focus on the mining sector which is very positive for us,” Hachey says. “Much economic development is occurring, particularly in the north-east where we are located.”
That includes the $200-million Caracol industrial park which was opened in October and is located less than 15 km from the Majescor project and a new university that also recently opened about 10 km away.
Hachey also praised the local infrastructure, which stands in contrast to the rest of the country, where it is seen as highly deficient. The Majescor project is less than 15 km from a deepwater port at Fort Liberte and a paved highway runs from Haiti’s second largest city, Cap Haitien, to the Dominican border. The highway touches the northern border of the property.
Similarly, Majescor has not been negatively impacted by Haiti’s otherwise poor security record. “We have found Haiti to be a safe place to work,” Hachey says. “We very much look forward to continued success there.”
The negotiations, and contracts, must be supervised and written by people who know what they are doing. Otherwise, Haiti’s fortune will be lost because of some simple phrase in the signed documents.
Ireland faces this problem. It has the richest oil/gas reserves in Europe, perhaps the world, and their right to 50% of the action was negotiated away by government people who did not know the game, or pocketed money for their criminal support.