Falcondo’s La Manaclita ferronickel project in the DR is a no-go

Falcondo’s existing operation in the Dominical Republic. (Image courtesy of Falconbridge Dominicana).

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic announced that it rejected Falconbridge Dominicana’s (Falcondo) application to develop the La Manaclita ferronickel project in the north-central La Vega province.

Falcondo is owned by Canada’s Americano Nickel Ltd. and its plan was to mine a 4.6-square-kilometre area within a 46 square-kilometre forest on the Loma Miranda mountain. The area, however, is considered a “green curtain” that serves as a natural sponge for opposing trade winds, absorbing and collecting humidity from clouds that hit vegetation, causing a unique phenomenon known as horizontal precipitation.

Falcondo’s operation currently produces 30,000 tonnes/year of nickel equivalent

The plan to mine such a place was considered controversial, with environmentalist groups openly opposing it

Falcondo’s idea was to submit a new environmental impact assessment for La Manaclita, which would expand its existing Loma Ortega deposit by connecting it to Loma Miranda and extend the mine’s life for 20 years. At present, resources are expected to be exhausted in 4-5 years.

The submission to carry out such a plan was received by the Ministry of Environment but it was rejected.

“Our position is to comply with what was expressed during the judicial processes (related to the project) and technical assessments that precede the current scenario, as well as with the principle of prevention established in article 8 of the General Law of Environment and Natural Resources,” Minister Orlando Jorge Mera said in a video statement

According to the government official, following his office’s decision, Falcondo’s management sent a formal communication saying that they had decided to withdraw the application.

“Our commitment, based on the Constitution and the rule of law, is to defend the Dominican Republic’s environment, natural resources and ecosystems,” Mera said. 

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