A cement mine, granted under questionable circumstances, is putting one the Caribbean’s most important forest parks at risk, warns a group of NGOs and attorneys working to stop the project.
Work on the mine, which lies in the forested buffer zone of Dominican Republic’s Los Haitises National Park, was temporarily suspended by court order earlier this year but environmentalists and legal advocates say the ban could be lifted, allowing operator Consorcio Minero Dominicano to resume extracting limestone from a five square kilometer concession, damaging the park’s mangroves and marine ecosystem. Mine critics note that Consorcio Minero Dominicano improperly acquired the license from the Secretariat of Natural Resources, raising concerns that other environmental protocols and safeguards will also be ignored.
“The license was obtained violating all the statues, and in complete disregard of the environmental and legal procedures mandated by law,” said an attorney working on the case. “This is extremely appalling, to the extent that this economic group managed to destroy an aboriginal cave along with large portions of the Park’s mangroves.”
Mine opponents are asking for international support — including opinions from scientists who have worked in Los Haitises — to pressure the government to uphold the country’s environmental laws.