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Copper mine destroying forests in Panama’s Mesoamerican Biological Corridor

24 / 12 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

From the air one can observe the destruction wrought by an open-pit mining project in Cerro Petaquilla and on the ground people talk about its environmental consequences. A security checkpoint and a sign announce that you have reached one of the entrances of the project in the area of ​​Molejón, Coclesito, 180 kilometers from Panama’s capital city. The deforestation began with the mining of gold by Panamanian company Petaquilla Gold and has continued with copper mining by Minera Panama, a subsidiary of Canadian company First Quantum Minerals. Deforestation due to the construction of the mining project and access roads. Photo courtesy of CIAM. Petaquilla Gold and Minera Panama are two different companies that share the same goal: the exploitation of metals in that underlay Petaquilla hill. Their activities are governed by a single contract endorsed by the National Assembly (Congress). However, their operations have resulted in the destruction of forest in an area of high regional biodiversity: the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor that connects the seven countries of Central America to southern Mexico. Conservationists say Panama’s portion of the corridor has been severely affected by mining-caused deforestation that began 10 years ago. Satellite imagery and data show recent accelerated deforestation caused by mine expansion. Primary forest loss The concession, granted by contract law No. 9 of February 25, 1997, covers an area of ​​13,000 hectares that is roughly equivalent to 60 times the size of the Capital District. It is not clear what percentage of this area has been allocated to…

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