Oxfam Report: Haiti Mining Laws Need Strengthening

Haiti's gold, silver, and copper resources exploitation challenges.


International agency, Oxfam, has released a report concerning development of Haiti's gold, silver, and copper lodes in northern Haiti. The thrust of the report states ". . . governance and regulatory challenges . . ." must be met prior to developing the precious metals. According to the report, doubts exist Haiti can manage its mining sector responsibly and successfully.

The windfall from mining revenues have the possibility to help Haiti build its infrastructure, but unless the Haitian government takes measures to guarantee revenues are protected, and will benefit communities, corruption will wipe out whatever good was intended for poverty-stricken Haiti.

In the past industrial mining remained undeveloped. But exploratory mining in northern Haiti has uncovered some projected $20 billion in gold, copper, and silver reserves. Foreign investors are now pouncing on the opportunity to refine and sell the metal reserves.

The problem with giving the Haitian government the go-ahead is its present draft mining law, containing considerable weaknesses. As the current law stands there are risks to the environment, communities, and the Haitian government's capacity to successfully regulate mining. Of the greatest concerns are environmental impact; financial above board-ness; payouts to landowners for land grabs; and stipulations concerning abandoned mines.

Oxfam Director Damien Berrendorf says if concerns are not dealt with ". . . money could be mismanaged or lost to corruption . . ." which would ". . . lead to waste of non-renewable revenues . . . Haitians will only get to develop once."

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