Santo Domingo. The Dominican Republic is obliged to break with the schemes of the past in the extractive industry if it wants to attract mining investments, and for that a new regulatory framework and best practices in the sector are essential, to overcome “the anti-mining culture.”
The proposal was made by the Minister of Energy and Mines, Antonio Isa Conde, in response to the Fraser 2018 survey, according to which the country is among the least attractive in the world for investment in mining, to be ranked number 76 of 83 economies evaluated.
“The difficulties for investment in the mining sector have been generated as a result of an anti-mining culture, fed by some political sectors and by environmental fundamentalists and that has its origin in a traumatic past, which has done a lot of damage to the country and investors in good faith and that we must overcome, although there are those who do not resign themselves to breaking with the past, “said Isa Conde.
He said that the transformations required in the mining industry will not work with simple words or declarations of intent, but with laws that guarantee citizens, the State and the investors themselves a management of the sector based on a win-win vision.
The minister maintained that “the law of the funnel”, in which the State has received historically little and the communities almost nothing -as compensation for the exploitation of the riches of the subsoil- has been a factor of distrust for the population that, to the long, it has affected the investment climate.
In his opinion, another unfavorable factor has been the environmental liability left by a wild mining of the past, which has now been changing significantly with new technologies and production models that impact less on the environment, allowing remediation at a higher speed.
“With the legal basis that we are preparing in the Ministry, we want to face this situation, which is why we need mining companies to completely divest themselves of the vision of the past and take the path of progressive legislation that gives way to sustainability. economic, social and environmental aspects of the extractive industry, “proclaimed Isa Conde.
He stressed that the reform wave of the mining industry should provoke a cultural change in those who are mentally anchored to the wild mining and also in the fundamentalists, whose narrow vision does not let you see the future clearly in terms of the rational use of the riches of the subsoil .
The extractive industry is currently governed by Law 146-71, with almost half a century of validity. The Ministry of Energy and Mines has designed a preliminary draft to modify that legal framework – which is currently in the Executive Branch to be sent to Congress. “The piece has been socialized since 2017, incorporating observations that have enriched it to achieve a fair model for all,” said Isa Conde.
He explained that the socialization of the preliminary draft has been done both with government entities such as the Ministries of Environment, Finance and Economy, Planning and Development as well as with the addresses of Customs, Internal Taxes and the private sector of the extractive industry.
“The Ministry of Energy and Mines has sought the greatest possible consensus regarding the preliminary draft, but can not renounce its leading role or its duty to ensure that the State receives fair benefits for the extraction of the wealth of our subsoil,” reasoned the official .