Panama’s congress took a significant step on Wednesday by voting to repeal the mining contract with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. This decision, made in a decisive 63-0 vote, brings the country closer to reevaluating its stance on mining and metal extraction. Demonstrators, who have been protesting against the mine, expressed their support for this move by blocking main highways in Panama City and demanding that the country’s supreme court declare the contract unconstitutional.
In addition to repealing the First Quantum contract, the bill passed by the congress establishes an indefinite moratorium on metal mining across the nation. Furthermore, it mandates the government’s rejection of all current and future requests for metal mining permits, and prohibits the renewal of metal mining concessions. This signals a significant shift in Panama’s mining policies, with a clear intention to prioritize the country’s environmental sustainability and protect its national sovereignty over minerals.
The supreme court has already accepted six lawsuits challenging the mining contract’s constitutionality. These cases argue that the deal violates Panama’s national sovereignty, international environmental treaties, and public bidding procedures. As the court deliberates over the implications of these lawsuits, the future of mining in Panama remains uncertain.
With the repeal of the First Quantum contract, Panama has set a precedent for reevaluating its approach to mining policies. By prioritizing the protection of national interests and sustainable practices, the country aims to strike a balance between economic development and environmental conservation. Moving forward, Panama will likely engage in substantial debates and consultations to shape its future mining regulations.
What does the repeal of the mining contract mean?
The repeal of the mining contract with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. indicates a shift in Panama’s mining policies and opens up discussions on national mining regulations. It establishes an indefinite moratorium on metal mining nationwide, rejects current and future requests for metal mining permits, and prohibits the renewal of metal mining concessions.
What are the main concerns raised against the mining contract?
Critics argue that the mining contract violates Panama’s national sovereignty, international environmental treaties, and public bidding procedures. They claim that it does not adequately protect the country’s mineral resources and fails to consider the long-term environmental impact of mining activities.
What impact will this have on future mining in Panama?
The repeal of the mining contract and the subsequent debates on national mining policies will likely shape the future of mining in Panama. The country aims to strike a balance between economic development and environmental sustainability, prioritizing the protection of national interests and the conservation of its natural resources.