Mining director favors selling out contract to Rosario mine

The director general of Mines, Octavio L?pez favors the privatization of the Rosario Pueblo Viejo gold mine. He told the List?n Diario, "The Rosario Dominicana project has technical, financial and environmental factors that cannot be resolved with small investments. It has to be a big project to confront with big solutions the technical-metallurgical and technical-environmental demands of the sulfide project of Pueblo Viejo." He said it cannot be capitalized such as projects being handled by the Comisi?n de Reforma de la Empresa P?blica, the government entity that seeks 50% capitalists for government companies. "It is a project that demands a complex technology and the investment of capital that can only be financed by a pool of banks. We are talking of US$500 to US$700 million or upwards of US$1,200 million." Proven sulfide ore reserves are estimated at more than 100 million tons, which would generate over US$1.5 billion over the 30 year life span of the mine.The opinion of the director of mines is a breath of fresh air, especially since the Salomon Brothers tender has not continued as scheduled. Sources indicate that several government sectors are not interested in the process continuing on schedule as audits had to be held that would reveal irregularities have taken place. Several of major international companies have desisted in participating in the bid given the delays. At present, the government is subsidizing the operation of the mine which is contaminating the area where it is located. Press reports have indicated that small companies interested in winning small contracts at the mine are lobbying for the favor of the government.