Environmental groups denounce Minera Panama contract as above the lawPublished by MAC on 2012-01-16
Source: The Canadian Press, Prensa.com (2012-01-10)
Inmet Mining said last week that Panama had granted its Cobre Panama project environmental clearance, as well as approving port facilities and a coal-fired power plant.
With the approvals in place, South Korea's LS-Nikko and Kores will invest in 20% of the massive copper project.
But Panamanian environmental organizations are calling the deal unconstitutional, while the country´s Supreme Court has decided in favour of maintaining a protected status for the Donoso area (where the proposed open pit mine is located).
See previous on MAC: Inmet's Panama Copper project raises concerns among activists
Inmet partner takes option for 20% of Cobre Panama
The Canadian Press
10 January 2012
TORONTO - Inmet Mining Corp. says Korea Panama Mining Corp. has decided to exercise its option to take a 20-per-cent interest in Cobre Panama copper mine, leaving Inmet with an 80-per-cent stake in the development-stage project.
Korea Panama Mining, a joint venture between LS-Nikko Copper Inc. and Korean Resources Corp., will invest about $155-million in the project, its share of historical development costs. After closing, it has agreed to fund its 20 per cent of development costs and will gain the rights to buy 20 per cent of the mine's concentrates production.
Questions were raised early in 2011 about the future of the Cobre Panama project, when the Toronto miner Lundin Mining Corp. walked away from its planned merger with Inmet.
The project has since received government approval for an environmental and social impact assessment required for the building of a mine, port facility and coal-fired power plant.
However, environmental groups continue to oppose the project, contending it will destroy 5,700 hectares of forest and affect local wildlife, including a large number of protected animal species.
The Panamanian Environmental Advocacy Centre has said it believes the agreement between Inmet and Korea Panama Mining violates foreign ownership rules under the Panamanian constitution. It has also challenged the government's ability to adequately conduct environmental assessments.
Court maintains protected status of area granted to mining company
By Mary Triny Zea
5 January 2012
While the National Environmental Authority of Panama (ANAM) has approved mining extraction in Donoso, Colón, the Supreme Court of Justice decides in favour of maintaining the protected status of the area.
The court's decision responds to an injunction sought by the Panama Mining company (a subsidiary of Toronto-based Inmet) submitted in May 2009 with the objective of overturning the resolution by ANAM, that two months earlier, designated the area for conservation.
The category III Environmental Impact Study for copper production in Donoso was approved by ANAM on December 28, 2011. The court made its pronouncement a day earlier.
The Panama Mining company (Inmet) will be able to extract minerals from within a 13,600 hectare concession that falls within the Mesoamerican Biological Corredor, which crosses seven countries in the region.
The declaration of Donoso as a protected area promotes ecotourism, scientific and investigative activities toward the conservation of its ecosystems.
Additionally, it prohibits activities that threaten its ecological integrity. Contradicting this, the mining company advises that the main impact of its project will be the loss of habitat, which will affect the fauna and flora in the protected area.
Panama makes an international commitment to protect the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
195,000 hectares in Donoso are declared a protected area, within the corridor.
The mining company seeks an injunction against the declaration of this area as protected.
ANAM approves the mining project, while the Supreme Court of Justice rules against the company's petition.
Inmet gets environmental green light for Panama project
By Matthew Hill
3 January 2012
Toronto-quoted Inmet Mining said on Tuesday Panama had granted its Cobre Panama copper project environmental approval, as well as port facilities and a coal-fired power plant.
With the approvals in place, a Korean consortium now has until January 10 to decide whether to buy 20% of the project, Inmet said.
The company said last year it aims to sell a further 40% stake in the mine, and that several major mining houses had expressed interest in this, with nine firms signing confidendentiality agreements.
Inmet aims to start construction of the 300 000 t/y mine in the first quarter of 2012, with the first concentrate to be shipped in early 2016.
The environmental approval took longer than expected to be received, with Inmet CEO Jochen Tilk having said in September that he anticipated it would be forthcoming as early as October.
The Cobre Panama mine is set to account for three-quarters of Panama’s exports by 2016, according to Inmet.
The company climbed 4.7% higher in Toronto by late morning to trade at C$68.55.
Inmet last year ditched plans to merge with Lundin Mining.