Environmental groups announced today that they will ask the government to be installed on July 1st in Panama to declare the country free of mining, through the review of laws in this sector.
This was reported in the press conference of Ecological Collective Voices (COVEC), the Ecological, Social and Agricultural Network Veraguas (RESAVE) and members of the Mesoamerican Movement Against Extractive Mining Model (M4), among other groups, urged the new government to halt mining concessions in the country.
"We asked the new government to press for a law to declare to Panama as a nation free of metal strip mining," said Olmedo Carrasquilla COVEC representative.
This request occurs at a number of mining projects that have caused environmental damage, such as Petaquilla, in the northern province of Colon, which led to the deforestation of large forested areas within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor of the Panamanian Atlantic (CBMAP), which hangs a complaint developed without the approval of the Environmental Impact rating 3.
Also, a motion by the government in 2011 to develop the copper mining project in Cerro Colorado, in the Ngobe Bugle region, sparked riots in the western region of the country, leaving two dead and dozens injured.
Carrasquilla announced that lodged legal resources in Panamanian and international courts to end this economic activity, as well as to companies that don’t comply with the standards and laws in this area.
Meanwhile, Francisca Mendoza, RESAVE leader said that environmentalists "will join forces to reject mining projects, because they affect water quality, natural resources and agricultural production of smallholder communities" to surrounding developments miners.
Appointed director of the National Environmental Authority (ANAM), Mirei de Endara, predicted that the new administration will in fact perform audits of environmental impact studies.
The upcoming President Juan Carlos Varela, elected in the elections of 4 May, will assume the presidency of Panama on July 1. We will see where this new path takes us.
What are your thoughts on Panama: The Mining-Free Country?
Its got a good ring to it, but will it ever happen? I guess will have to wait and see how far the environmentalists and government officials are willing to go to face these powerful companies causing such distress and mixed feelings in Panama.