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Nicaraguan Gold Rush Spells Profits, Protests, And Police Repression

LADB Article ID: 78934
Category/Department: Nicaragua
Date: 2013-03-28
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

A recent police crackdown on protesting guiriseros (artisan miners) in the central Nicaraguan town of Santo Domingo has raised new questions about the government’s "come-on-down" approach to foreign gold-mining firms, which have been raking in riches of late thanks to increased production and soaring prices. Early on the morning of Feb. 9, several hundred anti-riot police confronted a group of guiriseros at a roadblock the latter had erected months earlier at the entrance of Santo Domingo, roughly 190 km east of Managua. The artisan miners had been using the barrier to block the passage of vehicles and equipment owned by Canadian mining company B2Gold, which—through the acquisition of new government concessions—has expanded operations in recent years and begun exerting control of areas traditionally mined by guiriseros.

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