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Panama court ruling puts Canada mining project in doubt

Author: France 24, Published on: 28 September 2018

A ruling this week by Panama's Supreme Court has left a $6.3 billion copper and gold exploration project by Canada's First Quantum Minerals in limbo after it was deemed unconstitutional...Environmental defense non-governmental organization CIAM... contested a contract signed between the government and Canadian company Minera Petaquilla [in 2009]. CIAM claimed the deal was damaging to the state and its natural resources, saying it would result in the erosion of soil and vegetation, as well as the contamination of water and air. Minera Petaquilla traded the project to Minera Panama, a subsidiary of First Quantum, and it is that contract the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional... "This ruling is hugely important for Panama," [said] Sonia Montenegro, executive director at... CIAM.

...Labor and Development Minister Luis Ernesto Carles said exploration would continue. "We're not worried -- we're very clear that the contract is valid," Carles told Telemetro television channel... Minera Panama, the First Quantum subsidiary, insists their investment is "the biggest in the history" of the country and would help add 4.0 percent to Panama's gross domestic product as soon as next year.

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