If we were to speak of a Caribbean country worth billions of dollars in untapped gold resources, what country would spring to mind? Probably not the impoverished Caribbean republic of Haiti. After all, centuries of suppression, strife, corruption, and natural disasters have wrecked the economy and deflated most possibilities for tourism, leaving the country known more for its poverty than almost anything else.
Really, one of the only industries still functioning within the country is the production of rum; but soon, all of that could change.
Early in January of 2015, Haitian government officials met both with representatives from the World Bank and also with international mining investors in the capital city of Port-au-Prince to discuss how the Haitian government might deal with companies seeking to mine billions of dollars worth of gold out of the mountains in the island’s north.
Naturally, the international business community has voiced concerns regarding the proposed endeavor. After all, Haiti has a track record of government corruption and human rights violations, and the new mining laws could provide space for these problems to increase.
Communities are particularly alarmed that the draft law makes it easier for the government to expropriate land to enable mining installations if they are deemed to be in the “public interest.” As the complaint notes, the bill “does not make clear whether landowners and land users have the right to refuse to allow mining companies to enter onto and use their land.” (Vice News)
Still, even with several causes for concern, we’re cautiously optimistic. Not only will a poor nation have a chance to join the thriving international mining market, providing badly-needed jobs for its citizens in the process; but with more mining sectors opening up, the global demand for mining equipment also means jobs outside of Haiti as well.
That’s always a good thing.
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Image credit: Wikipedia