The idea of Mulino to explore the concept of 'open and close the copper mine' - What would be the impact? - Expat Community

The idea of Mulino to explore the concept of ‘open and close the copper mine’ – What would be the impact?

May 30, 2024 | News & Articles, Panama | 0 comments


The possible exploration of the concept of opening to close the copper mine, mentioned by the president-elect, José Raúl Mulino, in an interview with the Colombian media W Radio, has undoubtedly not fallen on deaf ears, especially among those who oppose this type of open-pit mining.

And it raises the question: Would the incoming government have the political capital to present the repeal of a law that generated a social explosion in the country?

For Harley Mitchell, an environmental lawyer, the possibility of Mulino presenting a repeal of the unconstitutional law “would symbolize a depletion of political capital and its immediate exhaustion.”

“Not necessarily the formula would have to be that, because the Political Constitution establishes the concession as the last way to dispose of mineral resources, while the State can exploit directly through public or mixed companies”

— Harley Mitchell – Environmental lawyer

However, in Mitchell’s opinion, the issue of administrative concession and Law 407 seems very difficult to remove, taking into account that the United Nations prohibits setbacks in environmental management.

The Panamanian State should not fear using the form of justice it has at hand to establish its position before First Quantum. Panama has the upper hand in this situation, Mitchell asserted.

Mine in Donoso

The copper mine, located in the district of Donoso, province of Colón, and covering almost 13,000 hectares, is considered the largest open-pit mine in Central America. Its operation, labeled “illegal,” was the cause of the social explosion and massive protests in October and November 2023.

Panama was immersed in a crisis due to the massive opposition of its citizens against metallic mining, a crisis that led the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama to declare the contract that renewed the concession for the exploitation of the mine “unconstitutional.”

It is worth remembering that on November 28, 2023, the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) declared that the contract-law supporting the mining operations between the State and the company Minera Panamá was unconstitutional, meaning it violated articles of Panama’s Constitution.

Subsequently, the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, ordered the Court’s ruling to be complied with and instructed officials to execute the “orderly and safe closure of the mine.”

“Open to close it”

In his interview with the Colombian media W Radio, the president-elect stated that “the crisis of the mine was largely caused by two reasons: the national weariness due to the absence of government we have had for five years and the poor handling of the problem by First Quantum with the Government. The mine is there, stopped but there it is.”

Mulino was precise in saying that the mine “cannot remain that way. We have to explore the concept I have heard of ‘open to close it.’ What it costs to close that mine cannot be paid by Panama and will not be paid by anyone. With the same revenue generated from the mine, it would be used to close it gradually. These are draft ideas. I haven’t talked about this with anyone in the campaign, beyond two or three coffees with friends.”

What the elected head of state made clear on May 5 is that “that contract cannot be revived because it is unconstitutional. I am aware that the problem stands as it is. But, without affecting our environment or the tranquility of our country, we have to face it. One cannot be so irresponsible as to leave things lying around when the ecological damage can be immense if not addressed urgently.”


Related Post

What is going on in your part of the world? Are there any news of relevance you believe should be translated to english? Comment below!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe for Weekly News Summaries