The world’s biggest corporate gold miner, Barrick, has been saddled with yet another accusation that it’s been operating illegally – this time in the Dominican Republic. Coincidentally, the issue of the contract between Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation (PVDC, in which Barrick holds a sixty per cent interest, and Goldcorp Inc. holds a forty per cent interest) and the Dominican government is gaining relevance on the country’s public agenda.
The mining project, the largest foreign investment in the history of the Dominican Republic, is being condemned by many political and environmental organizations. The mine was previously exploited until 1999. Placer Dome obtained the mining rights in 2001. In 2006, Barrick Gold took over Placer, and later sold a 40 percent interest in the project to GoldCorp.
The construction of a new tailings dam requires the relocation of the communities of El Llagal, Fátima and Los Cacaos. According to many sources, mining operations have already affected the Presa de Hatillo water reservoir.
Barrick is a Canadian company but London-based AXA Investment Managers UK Ltd had over $10 million invested in the company in 2007, BlackRock Commodities Income Trust plc has invested in the company, and the company also has connections with Millhouse Capital, controlled by London resident Roman Abramovich, and New City Investment Managers Ltd/NCIM (UK). (See From Money to Metals by Roger Moody,