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Criticism about contract between Government and Minera Panama grows

Panama City, Mar 5 (Prensa Latina) Criticism is on the rise after the announcement by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, about the imminent signing of a controversial contract with Minera Panama company.

The president specified on Saturday during a tour, in the province of Veraguas, that the agreement being negotiated by the Executive and the subsidiary of the Canadian transnational First Quantum since last year, is about to be signed and there is only one point left, without offering more details.

The government and the mining company began negotiating a new concession contract in September 2021, and announced an agreement in January 2022, which, however, did not come to fulfillment, leading the government to order the closure of operations, a measure challenged by the company.

The firm announced on February 23rd the beginning of a partial demobilization of its workforce, just over eight thousand workers and contractors, as a result of an order of the Panama Maritime Authority, which,since February 6th, halted the works of loading copper concentrate in the international port of the province of Colón.

Social and environmental organizations demand a transparent explanation on this matter from the last two governments and from the Supreme Court of Justice, which declared the agreement institutional in 2017.

According to the El Periódico de Panamá newspaper, the administration of President Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019), ignored the fact that the contract had been pronounced illegal and extended its validity until 2035.

The current Executive, has been allowing the company to continue operating illegally and making use of mineral resources belonging to all Panamanians. In addition this government has not explained the alleged participation of other States in the shares of Cobre Panama, the newspaper said.

On the other hand, the environmentalist Raisa Banfield insisted on demanding that the head of state intervene in the company, since it is violating the order given, on December of last year, to cease commercial operations.

Spokespersons of popular organizations describe as inappropriate any negotiation that the Executive branch undertakes with the mining company , as the concession contract was declared unconstitutional five years ago.

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