Dominican Republic gold mining exports leapt 79.6% in the first three months of 2021, in a sign of the country’s economic reactivation following the turmoil of the global pandemic.
According to Pedro Esteva, the president of the Oil Mining Chamber of the Dominican Republic (Camipe), the entire mining sector grew 16.2% during that period, while exports hit $574.4 million — a 3.4% increase compared to the same period in 2020 (all figures in USD).
While gold was the standout performer, ferroalloys saw an 18.4% increase in exports, while copper exports rose 1.6%, and zinc ore exports grew 0.5% during the period.
Speaking on July 1, Esteva was keen to highlight that these strong results were due to improved productivity and current market conditions for gold and other mining in the Dominican Republic, rather than reflecting a reactivation of the sector.
“The mining sector continued to operate at full capacity [during the pandemic] and to this we added the increase in mineral prices and the proactivity of the projects, which we can with great pride say provide examples of new technology, and sustainable management,” Esteva was reported as saying.
According to Esteva, the strong results being reported for the extractive industries, and particularly Dominican Republic gold mining play into a general trend for growth in the economy, which has seen the construction sector grow 54%, free trade zones grow 30.1%, and manufacturing grow 15.9% during the same period.
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Dominican Republic gold mining: an overview
While the Dominican Republic is perhaps more famous for its tourism sector, as well as its production of agricultural goods such as coffee, tobacco, and sugar, as Esteva pointed out, the mining sector is the number one source of revenues generated by export goods.
Among the minerals extracted, Dominican Republic gold mining is by far the most important in terms of volume and value, with the Pueblo Viejo gold mine, located in the north-central Sánchez-Ramírez Province, being the largest gold mine in the Americas, and third-largest in the world.
In 2020, Barrick Gold, a Canadian firm that has a 60% stake in the mine, announced that the lifespan of Pueblo Viejo would be extended beyond 2040. Those plans include an investment of $1.3 billion to expand the processing plant and tailings facility, with the potential to increase the value of exports to $22 billion, and generating an estimated $4 billion in extra taxes.
Those figures are based on a gold price of $1,500 per ounce. Prices have not dropped below that level since June 2019. At the time of publication, the value of gold stood at approximately $1,777 per ounce, suggesting that the potential for the expansion could be even more lucrative.
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