Angelo Viard, Aristide, CARLI, Citadelle, Dannel Belizaire, Delta Mining, Dieuseul Anglade, Enerlio Gassant, environment, environmental devastation, Ernelio Gassant, Geominerale d'Haiti, Gerhard Helmcke, gold, gold mine in Haiti, Grand Bois, Group 184, Haiti, Haiti agriculture, Haiti Copper, Haiti food security, Haiti gold, Haiti Gold Bonanza, Haiti Mine, Haiti Mining Convention, Haiti silver, KWG, Luce Saint Pierre, Majescor, Martelly, mining, mining in haiti, Morally Repugnant Elites, Morne Bossa, Mountaintop removal, Pierre R. Gauthier, Preval, resource theft, Severin Lachapelle, SOMINE, St Genevieve, Steve Lachapelle, VCS Mining
If you type Morne Bossa, Haiti into Google or other Satellite Maps, you will see, in stark contrast to media reports, what seems to be a mine already there! Using Google Earth, an engineer has estimated that over three times the metric tonnage of earth has been removed, as that which the Haiti Bureau of Mines (BME)documents estimated for the Morne Bossa ore deposit. Assuming that the gold and silver ore grading and recovery rate was consistent with that reported in BME documents for Morne Bossa, then three times the amount of gold and silver believed to be at Morne Bossa would also be missing! (See Morne Bossa map pictures below text.) This could be why Mercer Gold opted out of the purchase agreement with VCS Mining in April of 2011, after doing “due diligence”.
Morne Bossa was one of only two gold deposits, whose existence was considered proven, according to BME documents. A third, at Faille (now held by Majescor-SOMINE), was considered “probable” by BME documents, but not considered viable due to small size, inconsistent grades, and other technical considerations. Thus, the only gold deposit left in Haiti and believed proven, would seem to be Grand Bois, held by Eurasian Minerals, and estimated by the BME as 200,000 ounces of gold and 1,000,000 ounces of silver.
This means that Haiti’s “gold bonanza” would be only an estimated $ 333 million worth of gold, along with a “silver bonanza” of $ 30 million. This is the total sales price, and it goes without saying that Haiti will get little or none of it (a topic we discussed ad nauseam in an earlier post). If we want to be generous, we can add in a possible 33,812 troy ounces of gold for Majescor-SOMINE’s Faille, bringing the amount to 233,812 troy ounces of gold. Compare this to US production of gold for 2011 only, which was 237 tonnes or 7.6 million troy ounces. In other words, Haiti’s total believed remaining gold is only about 3 percent of the amount of gold produced per year in the USA.
Most of the potential mines in Haiti are for very low grade copper. These copper ore deposits are small by mining standards, but if they are mined it will have large and devastating effects on tiny Haiti’s environment and agriculture. The intent seems to be to pulverize and flatten up to the 20% of Haiti, which is under contract for mining, or even more, in order to squeeze this small percentage of resource from the hills and mountains. In this case, any profit will come to the owners primarily by low wages,avoiding taxation, and ignoring Haiti’s environmental laws, including requirements for clean-up.
There has been at least 520 years of mining in Haiti, both formal or informal. Hence, Haiti is definitely not unexplored territory, as the mining companies want everyone to believe. People have been seeking gold in Haiti from the arrival of the Taino/Arawaks, and have been mining for gold in Haiti since at least the installation of the Spanish in 1493, 520 years ago. By the way, Majescor found high grade silver on its SOMINE copper properties in Haiti: turned out it was from their own drill bits! No joke.
According to the BME, Morne Bossa was believed to have 2.5 hectares of ore deposit. However, it appears that 8.4 hectares (21 acres) have already been mined. Assuming that, on average, the grade was the same, this would mean that 302,474 troy ounces of gold would have disappeared from the Morne Bossa prospect, and that 1,361,133 troy ounces of silver would have disappeared. So, at current prices, $504 million of gold and $41 million of silver or a total of $545 million would be gone missing.
Thus, only between $ 363 million(without Faille) and $ 415 million (with Faille) or 40-43% of the gold and silver found in Haiti, during decades of exploration, would remain. At today’s value, there WAS close to $1 billion’s worth ($907 to $960 million), but over half (57%-60%) seems gone missing! If, in the unlikely case that Haiti gets 50% of the profit of what remains, then this would be only about $100 million, assuming an optimistic 50% profit. This would not even pay one sixth of Haiti’s external debt, which is now well over $657 million (where it stood at the end of 2011).
If you go to Google Earth and type Morne Bossa, you can see that the apparent mine was already in operation in 2004 and that mining has continued at least up to the period between Feb. 4, 2011 and Nov. 13, 2012 (see images with dates below our text). According to an engineer’s estimates, 63% was actually removed before Oct. 29, 2004; 5% between Oct 29, 2004 and Dec. 12, 2005; 15% between Dec. 12, 2005 and Aug. 1, 2007; 10% from Aug. 1, 2007 to June 2, 2009; 5% from June 2, 2009 to Feb. 4, 2011, and 2% in the period from Feb. 4, 2011 to Nov. 13, 2012.
So up to 7% of the gold and silver would have disappeared on Angelo Viard’s watch, even though most appears emptied before Viard’s VCS Mining was incorporated in June 11, 2009 and its subsidiary Delta Mining was formed in November 23, 2009 (authorized to function on April 6, 2010). Viard’s handshake agreement to take control of the Morne Bossa property reportedly goes back to October of 2009, but he had already signed an agreement with Phi Group-Phi Mining in August 2009 to explore mining in Haiti. This partnership with Phi appears to have ended sometime between April 14, 2010 and February 2, 2011 (based on the disappearance of a shared property in Cambodia from the vcsmining.com web site, as viewed in the “Wayback Machine” internet archives).
Upon incorporation, the owner “proprietaire” of Delta Mining was listed as Enerlio Gassant, said to be accompanied by Angelo Viard and an elusive Sandro Louimet. This is, most likely, the late Enerlio Gassant, Sr., and not Enerlio, Jr., listed in one obituary as Enerlio Carms Yretch (Gassant). Enerlio, Jr. seems known as “Karm” in US records, and “Junior” by his cousin. Enerlio, Sr. appears in US records as “Enerlio”. The late Enerlio Gassant, Attorney, was honorary president of “CARLI”, that ran a USAID funded call “hotline” for alleged human rights violations under President Aristide, which served to legitimize Aristide’s 2004 removal. (The hotline information was in French and only certain classes of Haitians read French or had access to phones back then; this recalls the 1948 Dewey Truman campaign polls). CARLI was part of the Group 184. Occasionally life seems fair – or in this case death-; there is poetic justice, and so Enerlio Gassant died in Miami, a year ago, on Jan. 20, 2012, subsequent to being shot in the leg after returning from the Bank in Haiti. We read that he had health concerns, as well, after the earthquake. However, Enerlio Gassant, b. 1939, was too young to die, but too old to be shot in the leg, though we doubt that being shot is healthy at any age. Any Morne Bossa gold and silver he may have gotten is not doing him any good now! Greedy people beware! His obituary assures us of his high level of ethics and how he taught his children (Pascale Hertelou, Vladimir, Stephane, and Enerlio, Jr.) good ethics. However, we fail to see any good ethics here!
As well as being an Attorney, Enerlio Gassant taught Mathematics. This is something he shared in common with former head of the Bureau of Mines of Haiti (BME), Dieuseul Anglade, who taught Mathematics at the State University of Haiti (UEH). Is this perhaps one way he came about getting the Mining contract?
Although the apparent Morne Bossa mine was operating well before they obtained it, up to 38 million dollars worth of gold and silver seem to have disappeared on Enerlio and Angelo’s watch, which is a pretty nifty amount. How much money did the robbers who shot him in the leg get? Who are the real robbers in this story? Enerlio Gassant learned one year ago that gold, silver, or other material things do you no good, when you die. On the contrary!
Shockingly, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that Angelo Viard, a Haitian-American, would have known, since at least October of 2009, that he obtained an active mine. In October 2009, Angelo reportedly made a 5 day trip to Haiti, which included a visit to the Morne Bossa site. We suspect that everything was negotiated by someone on the ground, well in advance, however. This trip was well-documented by former VCS Mining employee, Joanne Vermeulen (the Canadian-Netherlands Joanne and not the American one). She says she saw a child “sitting at the top of a path we hiked to look at a potential [mining] property”. This implies that they went up, which means that they should have been able to see the mine. If you look at the VCS Mining web site and their “Flagship Property” of Morne Bossa you will see a side view of a butchered hill, which seems a side view of Morne Bossa mine. If VCS removes the picture or you want more pictures at the site (probably of Angelo Viard), then go to the “Wayback Machine” and type in vcsmining.com and look at the April 13, 2010 web site of the Flagship property “updated” 11/17/09. According to Joanne Vermeulen, she, Angelo Viard and Ankesh Kumar went to Haiti to look at the Morne Bossa prospect in October of 2009.
We wonder about VCS Mining’s alleged April 2011 NI 43-101 report for Morne Bossa, mentioned on its web site: if, when, and why it was done and why it is not available online nor, we are told, are requests for it answered. Why would VCS Mining, a US Company registered in Delaware, follow the Canadian standard NI 43-101, which is lower/less strict than the US standards? We can only assume that, if it exists, it has something to do with Mercer Gold’s due diligence in April 2011. The other two companies in Haiti, which are Canadian, have not yet even produced true NI-43-101 reports. Eurasian Minerals was recently listed on the NY Stock Exchange and, thus, now is supposed to be held to the higher US Standards.
Joanne Vermeulen indicated in December 2009 that the NI 43-101 was to be for the “unproven satellite prospect” of Morne Bossa, estimated at 100,000 oz gold and 200,000 oz of silver, but that additional amount was already mostly gone by then, along with the original BME estimated amounts.
So, does this NI-43-101 report actually exist? Does it describe the already mined parts of the Morne Bossa property, or is it describing extensions to the current mine? The active mine is “only” 8.4 ha (21 acres) of the 30 ha (74 acres) “ecological footprint”, which the Mercer press release spoke of, and of the 5,000 ha (12,355 acres), which falls under the Morne Bossa EXPLOITATION Convention. However, only the 2.5 ha Morne Bossa deposit was officially studied (and apparently dug up!). The 5,000 hectares are for exploitation but VCS-Delta Mining has total license to over 700 km2, i.e. 70,000 ha (172,974 acres).
Why are we told nowhere in the news or on the VCS Mining web site that a mine has been operating at Morne Bossa probably off and on, perhaps non-stop; probably since 1992, shortly after the first coup against Aristide? In the period since 2004, earth has been removed at an extremely slow rate of well under a tonne per day, except during the period of December 12, 2005 to August 1, 2007, when it was removed at a little over a tonne per day. We can only guess at the rate of removal prior to the first google map of 2004, when 63% was removed. If it was removed at the rate of 1,000 tonnes per day then the mine would have been active for 8 of the 12 and 3/4 years between February 1992 and October 2004.
Removal of the gold and silver would, most likely, have been as legal, and probably more legal, than the way the current process is being handled. We applaud Gerard LaTortue for his transparency in providing documents on his website. We wish that the current leaders were more transparent. To evaluate the legality, one would need to obtain old copies of the Moniteur to see if the 1992 Mining Convention was published. According to Prepetit(2000), the Societe Miniere Citadelle received an EXPLOITATION permit on the 11 February 1992, for Morne Bossa AND Grand Bois. This was shortly after the first coup d’etat against the democratically elected President Aristide. Citadelle also signed a Mining Convention for EXPLOITATION of Morne Bossa and Grand Bois in 1997, which was renewed in 2005, shortly after the second coup against Aristide. Surprisingly, the area we believe to be the Grand Bois prospect appears relatively intact, though there is a huge crater – possibly an ancient mine- to the north. In May of 2009, a government representative (Deputy) for Limbe, Felius Lubin, stated that mining had been occurring in the Limbe area without their knowledge or supervision, and underlined the need for environmental monitoring – especially of water.
We note that in April of 2012, Newmont relinquished its interest in the Grand Bois project, returning it to Eurasian Minerals. Newmont is a Major Mining Company – one of the top mining companies in the world, unlike the others, which are Junior Mining Companies (often called “Penney Stock” Mining Companies because the stock is worth pennies). Eurasian Minerals prides itself in letting other companies, such as Newmont, pay for the work done on its properties.
Now Haiti has had an active mine at Morne Bossa for sometime, and not surprisingly, no known benefits have accrued to the Haitian non-elites, on the contrary — presumably only polluted land and water. Why are neither the BME, Haitian government nor the Mining Companies admitting that this site has been mined for well over a decade and probably two decades or more?
Even if the Haitian government saw any money from this mine, it may have been funneled off for Debt service. More likely still, it paid the debt for the weapons and soldiers for the coup d’etats against Aristide and the post-coup massacres, which conveniently cleared the land of people for the mining. It doesn’t matter that there aren’t many mineral resources left, the problem is that the land is believed to hold easy riches. Our New Year’s wish is that people will understand that Haiti’s real wealth lies in its peasants and its agriculture. Then Haiti can be a better place again.
Gold was worth under $409.00 when 63% of the activity took place at Morne Bossa, compared to the $1,664 of today. However, it is possible that gold and silver from the site may be stored somewhere as bullion and could be sold at the higher price. If the Mining Convention, which Prepetit (1996, pp. 31-32) describes, was signed without modifications, then 1 percent of gross revenue of the exploitation should have been set aside for clean-up. We see no clean-up. If this mine is still active, as it most likely is, then it needs to be properly monitored and the clean-up monies set aside. If no one speaks up and nothing changes, we will see no clean-up, only devastation with more to come.
Since the BME continues to lack the capacity to monitor mines; the current Haitian administration has little transparency; and we have been lied to about mining in Haiti, we do not believe that any future mining will be handled better.
On the contrary, if you read between the lines of the mixture of lies and truths about Morne Bossa, you start to suspect that the unavailable NI-43-101 report, if it exists, concerns the chewing up; the pulverization of the other 2/3 of this poor hill. This poor hill, like the majority of Haitians, is being crucified by the Haitian elites. The gold grade mentioned on the VCS Mining web site, when discussing the alleged NI-43-101 report, is about half that of the first 1/3rd of Morne Bossa. This would mean that if they take the other 2/3rds of the hill, they will get about the same amount of gold, as was already taken, but with twice the tonnage of waste rock.
Forget about mountain top removal: in Haiti and other places where the poor cannot defend themselves, we are talking about the pulverizing of entire hill and mountain ranges!
As well, we note that each time there was a change in presidency, there was a new Mining Convention for Morne Bossa’s Exploitation: the first Morne Bossa Convention for exploitation was in February 1992, shortly after the first coup against Aristide; then (1996)1997 under Preval, which was renewed under the Boniface Alexandre-Latortue administration in 2005 (one year after the second coup against Aristide). Preval, who is a former employee of the BME’s predecessor, the INAREM (National Institute for Mineral Resources), apparently accepted the (1996)1997 convention, both times that he was president. President Martelly, is, once again requiring new Mining Conventions, either because he feels the former ones are not legitimate, or to negotiate new terms, or for other reasons.
What about the half a billion dollars worth of gold and silver, which seem to have disappeared before Angelo Viard and Enerlio Gassant obtained the mine? The chief players, who should have some idea of where it went, would be those listed on the 1997 Citadelle Mining Convention: the notorious Pierre R. Gauthier of KWG and St. Genevieve, who is listed as President, and Gerhard Helmke, listed as Secretary, Treasurer. We believe this last to be the eminent Dr. Gerhard aka “Gert” or “Gerd” Helmcke, although it could be a son or nephew. Although Helmcke is correct, one often sees both spelling variations for this surname in Haiti, even within the same document. Dr. Helmcke, born in Haiti in 1927, was still alive 7 months ago and is probably in New Orleans with his wife Lysiane. Another name, which constantly appears in conjunction with Gauthier, is Luce L. Saint Pierre. Gauthier and Luce appear so frequently together in companies that one would think that they are married. Severin Lachapelle apparently aka “Steve” Lachapelle is high on the list of those associated with KWG-St. Genevieve, since he claimed to have been threatened by 200 peasants, who wanted water for irrigation, instead of mining, at Morne Bossa (See Houston Chronicle 7/04/97 “Water as Good as Gold to Haitians”). Additionally someone might want to ask Dannel Belizaire, current CEO of Geominerale d’Haiti. Geominerale d’Haiti was part of a consortium, which initially formed SM Citadelle, and Geominerale has continued to be involved with Citadelle up to at least December 2008.
[Since our initial post we have learned that, according to the Mining Convention, Briand Lafalaise was designated by Citadelle, in 1997, as their representative in Haiti to the State, so he would need to be asked, as well.] All of these, with the exception of Helmcke and Belizaire [and Lafalaise], are French Canadians from Quebec, aka “Quebecois”. Gauthier and Lachapelle are named for famous Quebecois, presumably their ancestors. Lachapelle and Luce Saint Pierre are Quebec lawyers. Luce Saint Pierre is also an accountant. For all seeking an American bogeyman: Note that these are Haitians, Haitian-Americans, and Canadians involved in Morne Bossa for 20 years. As well, Majescor-SOMINE is made-up of Haitians, Haitian-Americans, and Canadians. Eurasian Minerals is also a Canadian company, partnered with Marien Mining, which is Haitian. The exception is, of course, if Newmont, an American Company, is still engaged in any Eurasian properties, and even Newmont involves former Haitian Finance Minister, Ronald Baudin(1). The USA does have some still unknown interest(s) in Haiti, but geo-security appears to be the foremost, due to Haiti’s location.
For those who believe that the Haitians need to control their own resources, wake up! The Haitian elites ARE controlling the resources — there-in lies the problem — and to the detriment of the Haitian majority and of Haiti’s environment and, if allowed, will finish destroying Haiti’s food security with mining!
Do you really believe that no one living or working in Haiti knows what was and is going on? Of course, many know. And, the burden of guilt falls upon each and everyone who knows and has said nothing. The ultimate responsibility lies with the Haitian Government and Officials going back to the beginning of this mine. Especially those expatriated out have an obligation to tell the truth. Particular guilt would fall upon Dieuseul Anglade, who was the head of the Bureau of Mines for most of this period, and now is expatriated out as Director of the Pittsburgh, PA, Bureau of Mines, and upon higher level Haitian government officials. Guilt may possibly fall upon former BME head Pierre Yvon Beauboeuf, if he was still with the BME in this period. It is entirely possible that the mining companies even paid taxes to the Haitian government. All we know is that a reckoning is due. Any gold and silver revenues should be publicly accounted for.
If VCS Mining’s figures regarding its alleged NI-43-101 report are for the other 2/3rds of Morne Bossa, as we suspect, then gold (and silver) worth possibly half a billion dollars, may still remain. However, the operating cost, especially of diesel, to get it out, will be very high (twice as much diesel as before), because its low grade means over 9 million tonnes of rock will need to be removed and hauled.
That is, the first, now missing, 1/3rd of Morne Bossa would have held half a billion dollars of gold and silver in 4.7 million tonnes of rock and the remaining 2/3rds possibly holds the same amount within 9.4 million tonnes of rock. This diminishes any profits, which means that even in the best-case scenario Haiti is even less likely to get any money. VCS Mining’s chronic obfuscation of the facts makes us believe that VCS-Delta Mining must intend to remove as much as possible, within the next two to three years, while they claim to be doing their pre-mining social and environmental impact studies, and otherwise supposedly preparing for production!
This time period also roughly corresponds to the remainder of President Martelly’s term in office. Perhaps Angelo Viard et. al. figure that a future President might have some concern for the environment or for mining companies paying taxes and so forth and not “open for business” meaning to take the money and run (or take the money and stay, as is so frequently the case in Haiti). It is notable that as of April 2010 that VCS Mining merged out of Nevada and since is registered in the US State of Delaware, which in 2009 was ranked the top financial secrecy haven in the world (as of 2011 Switzerland was back on top). Even if VCS – Delta Mining are forced to be honest and play fair, the Haitian people (outside Angelo Viard et. al.) will get little or no money due to poor grade and high operating expenses.
Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose (the more it changes the more it is the same thing) or Deja vu all over again! However, in the case of Haiti it seems to be going from bad to worse! Haiti’s Morally Repugnant Elites (MREs) have proliferated over time and are squeezing this poor country literally out of existence — not only the people but even the earth itself!
(1) Those looking at the Wikileaks US Embassy cable, dated Aug. 2009, in references will notice that it mentions VCS Mining and Phi Group, as well as Newmont. It mentions Newmont moving ahead with surface and subsurface mining operations in two places in Haiti. This could be construed to be actual mining, but could also mean research. We think this probably refers to the old SEDREN Mine, which was later operated by First City Development Haiti (FCDH) (of Illinois), and which Eurasian seemed to have had in 2008. It had subsurface and surface components. It seems to have been available again last summer and is probably the mine, which an unknown private company has picked up and is currently trying to reopen.
Part II of our Haitian Highland Clearances should be forthcoming very soon. The information in this post was originally intended as part of that one.
HAITI NEWS 5 23 09 EXPLOITATION DE MINES D’OR A LIMBE