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Gemstone resources in the Dominican Republic hold significant potential to increase income opportunities for artisanal and small-scale miners but mining activity has come at significant cost to human health and the environment. The Ministry of Energy and Mines for the Dominican Republic recently requested technical support in artisanal and small-scale gemstone mining specifically to address challenges in understanding mineral potential of Larimar and amber reserves based on geological and mineralogical data. They also requested geotechnical assistance to enhance mine safety and mitigate risks to human health.
CIRDI is taking a three-pronged approach to achieving the overall goal of the improved use of geological data and safe, environmentally sound mining practices to sustainably benefit ASM miners of Larimar and amber resources in the Dominican Republic. CIRDI has engaged two technical experts to provide technical guidance and leadership in the assessment of gemstone reserves in the Barahona region. Through continued communication with SGN, they will jointly generate a technical report including the assessment of Larimar reserves and recommendations regarding resource-efficient and safe extraction methods of amber and Larimar. CIRDI has also engaged a geotechnical consulting company, BGC Engineering to provide technical guidance and leadership in the creation of a roadmap to reduce geohazards for artisanal mining of Larimar. This will be co-developed by SGN. Both reports will be used by SGN to create a Larimar geology 101 training guidebook that can be disseminated to, and facilitate dialogue with, mining stakeholders.
Gender – The project will support public safety of small-scale miners by reducing the risk of mine collapse. Female ASM stakeholders will also benefit from training in gemstone geology, valuation and geology and have access to reports based on field assessments.
Environment – Technical experts will undertake field assessments to evaluate the health risks and potential environmental impacts of exploration and extraction practices. This will inform a technical report on resource efficient and safe extraction methods of amber and Larimar that minimize environmental impacts and reduce health risks.
Governance – By helping the MEM understand its gemstone mineral wealth, the government will be better prepared to make informed (evidence-based) decisions on natural resource governance of high-value resources. This will help them manage the resource effectively for the benefit of the country.
BGC conducted a preliminary site visit in June 2017 and documented their observations in a memorandum. Dr. Groat and Dr. Turner conducted a cursory field assessment for Larimar valuation in November 2017. Both activities were carried out jointly with SGN staff and included a component of capacity building. Initial reports are being jointly discussed in order to determine next steps.
This project aims to: