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Panama president indicators into legislation a moratorium on new mining concessions. A Canadian mine is untouched

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Panama’s president has signed into legislation an indefinite moratorium on new mining concessions

ByThe Related Press

November 3, 2023, 9:16 PM

A lady holds a banner with a message sthat learn in Spanish: “I like Panama, Not mining”, throughout a protest towards a mining contract between the Panamanian authorities and the Canadian mining firm First Quantum, in Panama Metropolis, Friday, Nov. 3, 2023. (AP Photograph/Arnulfo Franco)

The Related Press

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PANAMA CITY — Panama’s President, Laurentino Cortizo, signed into legislation an indefinite moratorium on new mining concessions Friday. The legislation additionally prohibits renewing current concessions.

Panama’s Nationwide Meeting authorized the invoice Thursday. An article was eliminated, nonetheless, that might have revoked a controversial mining contract that sparked nationwide protests over the previous two weeks.

The brand new legislation will nonetheless permit Minera Panama to function an open-pit copper mine within the state of Colon for 20 years, with a doable extension for one more 20 years.

Environmentalists argue the mine threatens to destroy extra of the dense jungle surrounding it and imperils native ingesting water.

Minera Panama is a neighborhood subsidiary of Canadian mining firm First Quantum.

Some legal professionals welcomed the choice, warning that revoking that contract may have left the federal government open to multi-million-dollar authorized liabilities.

Nevertheless, specialists stated these may very well be averted if the nation’s Supreme Court docket guidelines the unique contract was unconstitutional in any one in every of eight such {cases} introduced towards the deal to date.

One other invoice additionally awaits debate, which might put the contract to a preferred referendum.

Cortizo initially gave his remaining approval to the contract on Oct. 20.

Protests continued throughout the nation Friday, drawing supporters from Indigenous teams and unions throughout the training, development and medical sectors.

In 2017, El Salvador’s congress handed a complete ban on the mining of metals within the nation, turning into one of many first nations to enact such a broad ban. Proponents stated the measure was wanted to guard the water provide.

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