Eurasian Minerals Haiti

< Previous | Home | Next >

Will the Haitian government do the right thing?

Haiti has the potential of having billions of dollars worth of gold deposits in Massif du Nord. Haiti may not have the knowledge nor the technology to mine the gold. However, the gold is on Haiti's soil. It belongs to the people of Haiti.

The Haitian government has to use diplomacy and business techniques to cut at the minimum a 50/50 deal with foreign investors to benefit its people.

That money can fix the infrastructure, provide jobs and cure many ills that the country has been suffering for so long. The people in power should be more patriotic and stop seing only themselves and their pockets and care about the people.

Haiti's future glitters with gold
Impoverished country gets second look due to stabilizing political climate, high gold price | Jul 21, 2007 04:30 AM, Reed Lindsay, SPECIAL TO THE STAR,

LA MIEL, Haiti-Keith Laskowski bounds up the freshly-cut dirt road like a child at an amusement park. He stops at a patch of reddish rock, whacks at it with his miner's pick and slips a chunk into his pocket.

"This road exposure's great," he says, then laughs almost giddily.

For 27 years, Laskowski has been searching for gold, from Mongolia to the Amazon.

Now, the geologist says, he may have hit pay dirt in the hills above the town of La Miel in northeastern Haiti.

But Laskowski's optimism belies a minefield of potential problems awaiting his Vancouver-based company, Eurasian Minerals.

Although Canadian mining companies weather stormy political climates around the world, they have largely stayed clear of crisis-torn Haiti.

Now, with the price of gold doubling in the last five years and a newly elected government establishing a degree of stability, geologists are scouring the hilltops of Haiti, the region's poorest country.

"These are the best results I've ever seen," says Laskowski.

"I don't think there's a question of whether there's a good deposit here. It's a question of whether we can develop it here in Haiti."

In late May, Eurasian Minerals announced the gold content found in several trenches cut into the hillsides here, driving its stock price up 40 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Laskowski says the company hopes to find billions of dollars worth of gold in the hills above La Miel, which is just a few kilometres from the border with the Dominican Republic.

This would be no small news for Haiti, where industrial production is meagre and agriculture is mainly subsistence.

Haiti has never had a modern gold or silver mine; its only copper mine closed 35 years ago.

"It's been frustrating.

But now we've got every reason to believe that in the coming years, there will finally be mineral exploitation in Haiti," says Dieuseul Anglade, a geologist who heads the Haitian government's bureau of mining.

A United Nations study in the 1970s indicated Haiti could be littered with gold and copper deposits.

But political violence and recurring coups have kept investors await.

"Haiti's logical," says Alex Turkeltaub, managing director of Frontier Strategy Group, a consulting firm that advises mining companies.

"The assumption of most mining executives is that its proximity to the United States and its relatively small size mean that they will have a lot of leverage as large players in a small economy, and that the Americans will always be there to protect against complete disaster."

Turkeltaub predicts "a stampede into Haiti" if the existence of large gold deposits can be proved.

Another Canadian-backed company recently resumed prospecting in Haiti after abandoning its claims a decade ago. Steve Lachapelle - a Quebec lawyer who is now chair of the board of the company, called St. Genevieve Haiti - says employees were threatened at gunpoint by partisans of ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The president at the time, René Préval, once an ally of Aristide, was elected for a second term last year, but Lachapelle says he has renewed confidence in the Haitian leader.

"Haitians are realizing that they no longer have a choice," says Lachapelle.

"With all the problems the country has had, they realize that they have to play the game with investors or things are going to keep getting worse."

Laskowski says his biggest concerns in Haiti are venal officials and angry local residents.

Haiti was recently ranked the world's most corrupt country by Transparency International, although Préval is widely seen as honest.

Formed in 1993, Transparency is a global network whose 90 chapters fight political corruption.

Most of its funding comes from government development agency budgets and foundations.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Haiti, the last stop in a week-long tour of South America and the Caribbean.

After Afghanistan, Haiti is Canada's second-largest foreign commitment - about $100 million a year until 2011.

Discontent is already brewing in La Miel and surrounding countryside.

The sudden appearance last year of Laskowski and his team of Haitian geologists sparked lofty expectations among the local families that the company would bring much-needed development to the area. So far, Eurasian's small-scale exploration work has resulted in only a few temporary jobs.

"They need to sit down with everyone together to let us know what decision they've made for the area. If they don't do this, we're not going to let them exploit us as they wish," says Suzanne Louis, a community leader and wife of a farmer.

Louis and other residents of La Miel say they are unaware of the environmental catastrophes and social upheaval sometimes associated with gold mining in other poor countries.

Laskowski has asked the locals to be patient.

In the best of scenarios, he says, it will take from four to six years before any actual mining could begin.

By that time, Haiti will have a new government and gold will likely be selling at a different price

Greg Peters, March 15 2009, 5:25 AM

Start a NEW topic or,
Jump to previous | Next Topic >

< Previous | Home | Next >


Messages in this topic

Greg Un merci special d'avoir continuer de faire circuler ces informations,afin de permettre a tous ceux qui declarent... read more >
Michel Edouard, 15-Mar-09 12:36 pm
Gold found in Haiti is not news. It goes back to the 1980's when Baby Doc was in power or even before that. Here is... read more >
Greg Peters, 16-Mar-09 1:05 am
I wish the gorvernment with guidance let the haitian people take care of their own areas by signing contract with the... read more >
No Mane, 15-May-09 4:57 pm
You should pose the question to Haiti's most famous "international journalist" of the moment, Nancy Roc. She has... read more >
Janjan, 2-Jun-10 8:47 pm


< Previous | Home | Next >