Inspenet, October 30, 2023.
The president of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, has issued a decree prohibiting the granting of new mining concessions . This decision was made amid recent protests in the country against the government contract with Minera Panamá for the exploitation of copper.
Cortizo communicated in a message to the country that starting this Friday all applications for new concessions will be rejected, as well as those that are in the process of being processed. However, this decree does not affect the existing contract with Minera Panamá, which has already been previously authorized.
It should be noted that said agreement is currently under review by the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama, because a lawyer filed a lawsuit alleging unconstitutionality and arguing that the legislative process was irregular.
During this week, unions and social organizations led demonstrations in Panama, highlighting concerns related to possible environmental impacts linked to the concession granted to Minera Panamá. Some of these acts of protest led to clashes and blockades in various parts of the country.
The commissioner of the National Police of Panama, Elmer Caballero, announced that during the recent demonstrations, 423 arrests have been made related to alleged crimes such as property damage, theft and robbery.
Prior to this, several members of the cabinet, including the Minister of Commerce, Federico Alfaro, have supported the contract, arguing that it was possible to obtain an improved economic agreement with more favorable conditions.
The position of Minera Panama
As for Minera Panamá, which is owned by the Canadian company First Quantum, it has acknowledged the admission of the lawsuit, but has not issued any statement in this regard.
However, in a statement issued earlier this week, First Quantum CEO Tristan Pascall called the mine a “significant contribution to Panama and its people.” Committed to managing the mine responsibly, including considering the positive impact on the workforce, nearby communities and the environment.
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