Thousands of sanjuaneros marched in San Juan, this Saturday, October 29, against the intentions of the Canadian company GoldQuest, to exploit the Romero and Romero Sur Mine, located in the Romero section, of the Sabaneta Municipal District, of the San Juan de San Juan Municipality. the Magana.
The march was called by a group of sectors of the San Juan province, among which the “United Southwest Movement for Water and Life”, churches, professional organizations and politicians stand out.
The senator from San Juan, Félix Bautista, who participated in the march, explained that “in all mining operations, chemical substances are used that pollute the land, water and air, causing health problems for workers and the people who live in them. area.” He added that “mercury, sulfuric acid and solvents that are used to separate minerals from the mine; nitric acid; ammonium and petroleum nitrate, used for tunnel blasting; the uranium; lead; acetylene equipment, for welding, are highly harmful substances, due to their polluting effects”.
“All this is contrary to article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic, which establishes as a duty of the State to prevent pollution and protect the environment for the benefit of present and future generations,” he said.
The organizations warned that damage to nature would not only affect San Juan, but would also decimate agriculture and the use of water for human consumption, as well as destroy life in the entire region.
Bautista said that the Constitutional Court (TC) set a precedent in 2013, when it issued sentence 167, regarding an appeal against the exploitation of ferronickel in Loma Miranda, in La Vega province. The TC said that “the environment is a right of higher quality than the right of free enterprise; that therefore, it was not possible to admit, in view of the documents provided by the parties in the process, the mining exploitation of Loma Miranda, since this would seriously and significantly affect the ecosystem of the place. The same would happen in the event that the Romero mine in San Juan is exploited.
But even more, continued the legislator, “article 16 of the Constitution establishes that water is an inalienable strategic resource, imprescriptible, unapproachable and essential for life. Human consumption of water has priority over any other use. The upper basins of the rivers are the object of special protection, by the public powers, for their preservation as fundamental assets of the nation. For this reason, we submitted a bill that declares all the areas of exploration concessions that GoldQuest has in San Juan to be a natural reserve, which will protect the upper basin of the San Juan River, which feeds the Sabaneta Dam.”
Article 86 of Law No. 64-00 on the Environment and Natural Resources prohibits locating any type of facility in the areas of influence of water supply sources for the population and article 74.3 of the aforementioned law establishes that the provision of the aforementioned article is binding on all public authorities.
San Juan de la Maguana is one of the most important agricultural regions in the country. Its production of grains such as rice and beans, supply much of the national territory. It produces 1.7 billion pesos a year and generates 28,000 jobs. The mining company has said that 800 jobs would be generated and San Juan would receive 86 million pesos a year, which is why the people of San Juan say that the exploitation of that mine is counterproductive. They said that an eventual implementation of the mining project would serve to poison the waters, the dams and the total destruction of the agricultural sector, the main source of wealth and employment generation.
They called on the legislators of the other provinces of the Valle region and the Enriquillo region to participate in the fight to prevent San Juan from becoming a mining district, since it would affect more than 800,000 inhabitants of both regions.
The demonstrators carried signs that read: “No to exploitation please”, “The people of God march for life”, “Water yes, mine no”, “No to disease, no to death and yes to nature”. “Go GoldQuest.”