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  1. #1
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    Default the real price of gold mining in the DR

    The production of one ounce of gold creates up to 30 tons of toxic waste. To produce that single ounce, miners have to quarry hundreds of tons of rock, which are then doused in a liquid cyanide solution to separate the gold. At the root of the environmental problem is the industry's reliance on old mining technology called "heap-leaching". Leach mining allows miners to coax tiny flecks of gold from low-grade ore. Cyanide is the chemical of choice and more than 90 per cent of the 2,500 tons of annual global gold production is extracted in this way. In a typical heap-leach operation, huge quantities of rock are crushed and stacked on top of clay and plastic liners to create piles the size of pyramids, which are then drizzled with the cyanide solution for years. As the chemical passes through the rock layers, it teases the gold out of the ore, where it is collected at the bottom and processed further. Cyanide is a toxic chemical - one teaspoon of 2 per cent cyanide solution is enough to kill a human being. This dangerous chemical is used in gold extraction operations from Peru to Ghana. And it has left a toxic legacy in its wake. The cyanide waste produced from gold mining is stored in reservoirs. Spills from these lakes have made their way into water systems with fatal consequences for the environment, wildlife and local communities.
    With the best ore already mined in most developed countries, the industry is turning to the poorest countries in the world. Up to 70 per cent of gold is mined in developing countries such as Peru and the Philippines. Vast tracts of the developing world are being laid to waste, leaving a multibillion-pound toxic time-bomb. Environment agencies in the US have described disused heavy metal mines as an equivalent to nuclear waste dumps, which must be secured and maintained for the foreseeable future. America's Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the costs associated with the clean-up of metal mines could rise to $58bn, according to The New York Times.

  2. #2
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    Can you relate this specifically to the local mines. What methods are they using?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert
    Can you relate this specifically to the local mines. What methods are they using?
    Placer Dome, notwithstanding strong militant opposition from environmental organizations and local community groups, plans to go ahead with gold mining operations in Pueblo Viejo, Cotui, using open pit mining with conventional equipment including CIL cyanide leach extraction. Although Placer Dome has obtained appropriate official authorizations, analysts in the field doubt the DR goverment will provide continuing support for the project considering the potential for political unrest for the forthcoming 2006 electoral process. In addition, political parties are including in their platforms stringent environmental protection policies, including prohibitions on open pit mining and use of heavy metal contaminants such as cyanide.

  4. #4
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    The cyanide solutions are very dilute and after use decay rapidly, becoming harmless. The tailings dams containing the treated mine material are surrounded by coarser material, produced by cyclones. If these dams are properly designed and maintained, there is no hazard, even with torrential tropical rain. The tailings can be seeded to provide permanent stability which is evironmentally beneficial. Canadian Bob

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by canadian bob
    The cyanide solutions are very dilute and after use decay rapidly, becoming harmless. The tailings dams containing the treated mine material are surrounded by coarser material, produced by cyclones. If these dams are properly designed and maintained, there is no hazard, even with torrential tropical rain. The tailings can be seeded to provide permanent stability which is evironmentally beneficial. Canadian Bob
    What you are saying is way off mark, especially when most countries in the world are banning open-pit cyanide leaching gold and silver mining. The Placer Dome project in the DR is not only highly destructive of the environment, but is also an affront to human rights. The DR is worth more than gold. Our Ad Hoc Committee is currently seeking the participation of MiningWatch Canada to stop Placer Dome's Pueblo Viejo project.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by canadian bob
    The cyanide solutions are very dilute and after use decay rapidly, becoming harmless. The tailings dams containing the treated mine material are surrounded by coarser material, produced by cyclones. If these dams are properly designed and maintained, there is no hazard, even with torrential tropical rain. The tailings can be seeded to provide permanent stability which is evironmentally beneficial. Canadian Bob
    I couldn't find anything in favor of this method.
    Can you tell me your sources or point me in the right direction to look for info?

    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by canadian bob
    If these dams are properly designed and maintained,
    A big "if" in the Dominican context!

    If the cynaide process in gold mining were so harmless and easily managed, there would not be so many environmental horror stories involving it, movement in several US states to ban it, and an international code of conduct developed by industry to address the environmental and health concerns. I'm not saying it cannot be properly managed; just that the global track record for it so far is hardly exemplary...

    For what it's worth (and I'm not sure what it's worth), Placer Dome is one of the six signatory companies (AngloGold Ashanti Ltd, Barrick Gold Corporation, Kinross Gold Company, Newmont Mining Corporation, Placer Dome Inc, Rio Tinto, CyPlus, DuPont, Orica) to the International Cyanide Management Code negotiated with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Although the Code is technically voluntary, the International Cyanide Mangement Institute (ICMI) set up as a result of the Code has prepared follow-up standards of practice and protocols for implementation, auditing and certification that may make it an effective tool...

    http://www.cyanidecode.org/thecode/index.html

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    Does Placer Dome have a history in any other developing country?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by aegap
    Does Placer Dome have a history in any other developing country?
    Yes: Chile, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania. Not sure how you classify South Africa, but they're there too.

  10. #10
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    How responsible, both socially and to the environment, have they been in those countries?

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