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Mining vs Environmental Concerns vs Panama’s Constitution


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Mining and the Constitution

Posted 28/05/2021

Article 114 of the Constitution states that "it is the fundamental duty of the State to guarantee that the population lives in a healthy environment free of contamination, where air, water and food satisfy the requirements of the adequate development of human life. " In any other place, this would demand the achievement of profitable and environmentally friendly public policies and projects. But what we see is a total absence of objectives, communication and agendas between the entities concerned with preserving that principle enshrined in the Constitution…

 While, on the one hand, a mine is allegedly controlled and sanctioned, on the other, the practice of this open-pit activity is promoted and more hectares are reserved for its development, at the expense of protected areas; If one body declares an exploitation contract unconstitutional, the other reaches an understanding so that the concessionaire, in any case, maintains its operation, with the argument of protecting jobs and the post-pandemic economic reactivation. It is time for our leaders to honor their constitutional duties and pursue sustainable development strategies. It shouldn't be that difficult.- LA PRENSA, May 28

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/mining-and-the-constitution

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Over 90 NGOs denounce government mining plans

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Posted 28/05/2021

More than 90 NGOs at a  conference on Thursday attacked the government's plan to promote open-pit metal mining and called for a moratorium on the activity.

The spokespersons  indicated that mining in Panama has always "failed." They also considered it as an unstable and speculative business, which is highly polluting and has left irreversible environmental damage, destroying habitats, water, and soil in the national territory.

" The declaration of a mining moratorium is urgent, which stops the granting of any concession until there is a real national discussion on an alternative economic strategy for comprehensive, inclusive, supportive, and environmentally friendly development," said the NGOs in a release.

The call comes after the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) incorporated more than 25,000 hectares located between the provinces of Coclé and Colón‘ into the mining regime last week

Among the organizations that signed the note are the Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Alliance for Conservation and Development, Highland Biotourism, the College of Biologists, the National Association for the Conservation of Nature, among others.

For Isaías Ramos, a biologist at the Center for Environmental Incidence, the so-called "dialogue" that the MICI has called on this issue is nothing more than a strategy to endorse the mining interests that have occurred throughout the governments and that now, with the excuse of the pandemic, it is intended to continue.

Susana Serracín, part of the Alliance for Conservation and Development, stressed that betting on Panama becoming a pro-mining development country, affecting the heart of our biodiversity, the quality of our waters, and the quality of human life "It means condemning us to a path of no return," she said.

In the words of Serracín, if we allow this to be promoted, the result will be that there will be transnationals becoming more millionaires, authorities that lend themselves to support them driven by petty interests and a more impoverished nation.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/over-90-ngos-denounce-government-mining-plans

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OPINION: A bipolar Ministry

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The failed gold mine

Posted 30/05/2021

A bipolar crisis seems to be affecting the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Mici). On the one hand, it summons different sectors and unions to dialogue to define the future of mining in the country; on the other, it surprisingly incorporates 25 thousand hectares to the mining concession regime, to the detriment of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. To conclude, he announces that he has received a proposal from a Canadian company to allegedly invest $200 million in the reactivation of the Molejón mine. We learned about this after months of secret conversations between the Mici and the chosen company, about which much is ignored and little is known, almost nothing flattering. Is this the most convenient for the country? Why do we continue to compromise our natural resources, if there is supposed to be a table to define precisely the country's strategy? The Mici has not yet been able to regularize the situation of the operator of a concession declared illegal by the Supreme Court, but it is already ready to open a new front, without calling a public act or defining the rules. It seems that the only bet for the economic reactivation of the country is mining, whatever it may be. – LA PRENSA, May 30

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/opinion-a-bipolar-ministry

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Archbishop calls for mining moratorium

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Students from the regional university center of Coclé have demonstrated against mining.

06/06/2021

The Metropolitan Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa reacted on Sunday to the concern expressed by various Catholic entities over actions that threaten to turn Panama into a “mining country” and called for a mortarium on mining.

"The Pope has already told us: 'the exports of some raw materials to satisfy the markets in the industrialized north have produced local damages, such as contamination with mercury in gold mining or with sulfur dioxide in copper mining.' We are poisoning the common house and before this, the Church cannot remain silent ”, said Ulloa.

The Archbishop proposed the opening of a space for broad and authentic dialogue that involves all stakeholders, in addition to not ruling out a total mining moratorium as a result of the process and that the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) suspend the new concession of 25 thousand hectares until the dialogue ends.

"Today more than ever we must be united to take care of our Common Home, it is the only inheritance that we can leave to our children, a country where each of the citizens protects our land, water, and forests," said the archbishop, referring to the June 5 World Environment Day.

Recently, a group of environmental organizations has made known their opposition to the measures of the MICI to “promote” open-pit metal mining in the country.

The demands of environmental groups arise after it became known on May 15 that the MICI added more than 25,000 hectares of land in Colón and Coclé to the mining concession regime. Specifically, an area of 24,954 hectares between the districts of Donoso (Colón) and La Pintada (Coclé), and another of 644.9 hectares in the districts of Donoso and Omar Torrijos (Coclé).

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/archbishop-calls-for-mining-moratorium

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