Barrick Pueblo Viejo has received an Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for its communications strategy on mining in the Dominican Republic.
Entitled "The New Dawn of Mining in the Dominican Republic," the multi-channel strategy informed communities near the mine and other key stakeholders across the country about modern mining practices—including environmental standards, sustainability, technology, social development, and the positive economic impacts that mining, along with the company, brings to the country.
"We worked in a coordinated manner to reposition Barrick Pueblo Viejo’s image, and raise awareness about the social and economic opportunities the company brings to the Dominican Republic."
The PRSA's Silver Anvil Awards, established more than 70 years ago, celebrate the best programs and highest standards of practice in the public relations field. The Pueblo Viejo team was the only award recipient this year from outside of the United States.
"The Communications team was at the helm of this strategy, but we would not have been able to achieve our goal without the support of many groups within and outside of Barrick," says Arlina Peña, Communications Manager at Pueblo Viejo, who accepted the award on behalf of the team. "We worked in a coordinated manner to reposition Barrick Pueblo Viejo’s image, and raise awareness about the social and economic opportunities the company brings to the Dominican Republic."
The communications strategy was important because legacy issues of former mining operations had been top of mind for many people in the country. The previous operator of Pueblo Viejo closed the operation in 1999 without proper environmental remediation, leaving a legacy of polluted soil and water.
Since then, the new operation has re-vegetated 3,500 hectares of land, built a large water treatment plant to treat water on site and, acting as an agent of the government, removed 180,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil left from prior operations. The new mine achieved commercial production in 2013.
In 2014, Barrick exported more than $1.5 billion worth of gold and silver, making it the largest exporter in the Dominican Republic. This yielded the Dominican government nearly $413 million in taxes paid by the company. Barrick also accounted for 2.24 percent of the Dominican’s total gross domestic product growth of 4.1 percent in 2014.
Pueblo Viejo is a joint venture located about 100 kilometers northwest of Santo Domingo. Barrick acquired its 60 percent interest in the mine in 2006, and operates the mine. Goldcorp holds the other 40 percent. Construction of Pueblo Viejo involved an investment of nearly $4 billion, the largest foreign investment in the history of the Dominican Republic.