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Haiti to regulate mining industry

The Haitian government is drafting legislation for the newly emerging mining industry to help this impoverished Caribbean nation reap benefits, the new prime minister said.

Laurent Lamothe, who saw his Cabinet and policy plan approved hours earlier, said during an interview that the legislation will be sent to Parliament soon.

It will lay out rules apportioning royalties for the government and setting protections for the people and environment that could be affected by mines.

"The most important thing is to have the correct mining law," he said.

"It ensures that the right portion comes to the state. It ensures that the people living in the region where the mines are, that their rights are protected. It ensures environmental protection."

The plans to draft the mining legislation come after it was reported that two mining companies have begun drilling in Haiti's north eastern mountains.

The companies say testing indicates the precious metals such as gold, copper and silver is worth potentially 20 billion US dollars.

That would be a boon for Haiti, which is one of the world's poorest countries. Most of its 10 million people live on less than two US dollars a day.

Until the story, few Haitians knew about the recent efforts to mine their country. Mining camps are unmarked, and the work is being done in remote villages on the opposite side of the country from the capital, Port-au-Prince.

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