Haiti awards mining permits to companies seeking gold, copper

Haiti's government has awarded permits for the first time in the country's recent history that will allow two companies to openly mine for gold and copper.

The nation's mining director Ludner Remarais said Friday that he issued the company SOMINE one permit to mine for gold and another for copper. SOMINE is jointly owned by Canadian company Majescor and Haitian investors.

SOMINE's Haitian engineer Michel Lamarre said he expects exploration to start in 36 to 42 months, adding that the company has already spent $10 million in research.

Remarais said he issued a second gold permit to VCS, a North Carolina-based mining company with offices in Haiti.