24 de noviembre, 2020.
November 24, 2020.
Article published by Listin Diario on November 24, 2020.
Ioannis Moutafis does not seek to have a 'mine' of money. He prefers to dig to extract development opportunities for the communities where Falconbridge Dominicana (Falcondo) operates.
A production and export that has not stopped even with the health crisis that the world is experiencing, selective mining, more than two thousand employees, and the inclusion of the community through training so that they can be part of the production process, are part of the achievements of the institution chaired by Moutafis.
Since 2015 they have focused on carrying out a commercial activity that positively impacts the surroundings of the mine. With 80% of the areas that they protect, they have managed to revive an area that five years ago was in frank deterioration.
His project is to turn Loma Miranda into a natural reserve, under the tutelage of a patronage that will take care of each area. They would do this together with the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Energy and Mines. They work and will work to show that their impact will be positive, because with their care, roads will be built, care will be taken to avoid the felling of trees, forest fires, illegal logging; plus community projects with residents of the different surrounding towns, among others.
That is said by Moutafis, who has just signed an agreement with Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina, S.A. (EGE Haina), for the purchase and sale of foltovoltaic energy to be used in the company's mining operations.
The contract establishes that EGE Haina will supply Falcondo, as an unregulated user of the National Interconnected Electric System (SENI), part of the energy that this company requires for its production. This shows that the mining company seeks all ways to avoid damaging the environment.
Moutafis explains that the energy will come from the production of the Girasol Solar Park, which EGE Haina will build in the coming months in the Yaguate municipality, San Cristóbal province, and which will have a capacity of 120 MW. "This agreement shows that mining can operate in an environmentally friendly way," says the executive.
In the pandemic
That only 1.5 percent of its employees had the virus fills them with satisfaction because it responds to the successful biosecurity measures they implemented at the mine. Establishing several shifts, doubling the number of transportation and adapting the company so that the employees were physically distancing themselves in the different areas and the dining room, has been the perfect key to achieve the loss in cases.
Moutafis, president and CEO of Falcondo, says they did not have to suspend any employee.
At the beginning of the pandemic, ferronickel had a decline in world markets, but as of June, exports to China, Japan, Europe, the United States, Korea and India increased again, which are the countries that demand the most consumption.
Both opened their portfolios to explain that in 2015 the Falcondo mining company arrived in Monseñor Nouel and found a mine with 120 employees. Today, five years later, there are already 2,000 people who make a living in the company.
To do this, they reduced the requirements in the profile of community applicants and, therefore, decided to train them to handle the most sophisticated equipment and thus fully insert it into production on an equal footing.
This was one of the first steps to implement, as their main priority is to help community and involve them in all projects undertaken, whether environmental, social responsibility or innovation .
"It is also noteworthy that in the Manaclita hill, where ferronickel is being extracted, only 11 percent is being used, and working with small excavations that, we immediately finish, we reforest it, that is, that in 20 years when the mine ends, the entire area will be reforested, "said Nicolás Vargas, Falcondo's financial manager.
They explain that their excavation process is governed by international standards with the use of new selective mining technologies that are done with a scanner focused only on the extraction area.
"We are betting on the use of these advances that allow us to go directly to what we are looking for, without affecting or compromising other areas. Ours is to protect natural resources, to create a source of work and, finally, to support ourselves in everything that benefits the communities around the mine ". This is emphasized by Nicolás Vargas, director of Finance of the entity.
Since they were established five years ago as a mine to extract ferronickel, they have done so with the commitment of not using chemicals and having minimal water consumption.
The mineral that is extracted comes from soils or basic soft rocks, which is why, at the end of its process, it does not produce acid waste water. Consequently, all the waters that circulate in the mine are waters of neutral or basic PH, he assures.
The preservation of natural forests, protecting them against fires, illegal logging and invasion; recovery of intervened areas through rehabilitation and reforestation; guarantee of quantity and quality of water through a robust system in its management, they are the guarantee to continue with its project of extracting ferronickel in its part of the Miranda hill, which is 11%. Their proposal would be made over about 20 years, under the same standards that they are doing now.
Falcondo, as a historically responsible company and aware that the lack of drinking water has serious consequences on the health of the communities and on food security, implemented the construction of community aqueducts in the communities that are under the umbrella of its operations. Thanks to these initiatives, the communities of La Minita, Bonaito, El Verde, Peñaló, Hato Viejo and Rancho Nuevo currently enjoy an availability of drinking water for household chores and agricultural work.
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