What news for a nation blighted by poverty, disease, and a devastating earthquake: Haiti is home to lucrative gold mines. And copper and silver ones too. Potentially worth $20 billion, the precious metal finds are already creating hundreds of jobs and new roads, the AP reports. What's more, mining by US and Canadian firms should leave Haitians with about half the profits—an unusually high amount. But history shows there are pitfalls aplenty for Haitii to avoid.
Open pit mines—the world's most common type—usually last for about 25 years, but leave decimated mountaintops, displaced communities, and environmental contamination. Haiti in particular is known for its corrupt government, and officials who would regulate the mines don't yet exist. On the positive side, people like stone cutter Joseph Bernard, 47, are getting a paycheck and feeding their family. "I found a job, but many didn't," he says. "If more companies come, more people will work."