'Capitalism vs. Nature': Dominican Republic Activists Fight to Save Mountain from Mining

Activists are calling for the Loma Miranda mountain in central Dominican Republic to be designated a national park to save it from mining threats, which they call “a new form of colonialism.”

A government plan to use Loma Miranda for nickel mining would result in irreparable environmental harm, the activists say. That, in turn, threatens the communities that depend on the mountain, which takes up 16 square miles, to provide fresh drinking water and other resources to residents through its springs, rivers, and creeks.

“It’s one of the most important mountain systems in the Dominican Republic,” Victor Medrano of the Ecological Society of Cibao told Al Jazeera. “It produces enough water to provide to the surrounding communities irrigation for the entire region and hydroelectric power.”

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The government announced its plans to mine Loma Miranda in 2014, prompting protests by residents and activists around the country.

In response, the Dominican Republic Senate passed legislation in August to designate the mountain a national park and protect it from exploitation by mining companies. But President Danilo Medina rejected the bill.

Al Jazeera continues:

Despite their efforts, the government appears to be pushing forward with mining plans, including by offering exploratory arrangements to foreign energy companies. At least one company, Glencore Falcondo, is currently conducting research there.

“It’s a new form of colonialism,” Rafael Jiménez Abad, a Loma Miranda camp leader and university professor, told Al Jazeera. “Our fight is about life or death. It’s capitalism versus nature.”

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