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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gold Occurrences in the Dominican Republic

Coat of arms of the Dominican Republic
by Pavel D

The islands of the Greater Antilles were originally attached to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and are composed of typical continental rocks.  These islands including the Dominican Republic were detached from the continent in the Eocene era.  It might be supposed that the Chixilub event when an asteroid crashed into the earth causing the extinction of the dinosaurs is somehow related to the islands subsequent drifting to their present location.  The geology of these islands is at best uncertain and inadequate the fossil records here are wretched causing a probable worst case scenario, and at best a very bad one.

The Spaniards began mining gold in the Dominican Republic in the 1520s to the detriment of the local Arawak Indians who they enslaved to work the mines, gold mining on a big scale is a recent development.  As recently as July 2001 Placer Dome Inc. of Canada announced that it had the right to negotiate an agreement for the Sulferos De Pueblo de Viejo gold project leaving the company a four year period to develop the mine after the award in March 2002.  By 2005 the company decided on a conventional open pit mine from which they anticipated production of about 800,000 ounces of gold for a period of five years and an additional 625,000 ounces per year for an additional eleven years.  The company estimated it would cost around $200 per ounce to recover the gold during the life of the mine.

Most of the gold deposits in the Dominican Republic are in areas of magnetic low anomalies like that at the Placer Dome Mine.  Other similar anomalies are being explored in the Loma Hueca, the Cumani and the Loma Lovetan concessions by Linear Gold.  The work performed at Cumani indicated anomalies of gold in stream sediments and soil anomalies in the Rio La Savita drainage basin.

Another gold concession is held by Impact minerals in the eastern part of the country included in these concessions are the El Brujo, La Bruja, Tedeche, Barita, La Culebra and the Athena concessions.  Much of the gold is found in gold, silver, zinc mineral belts that are often localized at the intersection of major faults in the area.  These areas displayed gold values as high as 5.59 g/ton gold with higher values of silver and zinc. There has been a limited amount of prospecting done in the country, but what has been done indicates there is additional potential for further gold, silver and base metals yet to be found.

A major fault runs alongside these islands that has been caused by the rubbing together of the islands by the Caribbean Plate that are further east has generated the Lesser Antilles that are mainly volcanic in nature having several major eruptions in recent history including one on the Island of Martinique that was one of the most deadly eruptions in history.


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