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Fernandez Says Dominican Republic 2011 GDP Rose 4.5% on Mining

The Dominican Republic’s economy expanded 4.5 percent in 2011 behind “astronomical growth” in the mining sector and a record increase in national exports, President Leonel Fernandez said today.

Speaking in Santo Domingo during his annual Independence Day address to the National Assembly, Fernandez said that the mining sector grew 79.7 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. Gross domestic product rose 7.8 percent in 2010, according to the central bank.

Further growth is expected in 2012 due to continued extraction of nickel at the Xstrata Plc Falcondo mine and the beginning of gold production this year at the Pueblo Viejo mine by the Barrick Gold Corp., Fernandez said.

National export sales increased $1.78 billion from 2010 to 2011, led by a 15.8 percent increase in exports from free-trade zones, Fernandez said. Exports from free-trade zones earned over $4.84 billion in 2011, a national record, he said.

The tourism sector also saw record revenues, Fernandez said, earning over $4.35 billion in 2011.

Fernandez’s speech today was his final state of the nation address as the president of the Caribbean nation. Fernandez, who was been president since 2004, will leave office Aug. 16. National elections are scheduled for May 20.

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