The Mesoamerican Ecclesial Ecological Network (Remam) has called on the National Assembly to reject the agreement with Minera Panama because it conflicts with the country's environmental and constitutional legislation.
According to the organization, metal mining is not sustainable in a country with a wealth of water and biodiversity and the climate vulnerability of Panama. This is supported by many international and national studies.
It notes that the total area of use and easement for the mine is 17,780.38 hectares, including the tailings management facility, it is in the middle of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and the Donoso Protected Area, which contradicts the legal system of the country.
It also criticizes the excessive advantages that the contract offers the company, such as acquiring, or leasing State or privately-owned land without limit, inside or outside the concession.
“The State also undertakes to expropriate the lands that are necessary to expand the concession, even if the mining company pays compensation," which cannot be allowed.
It also does not agree with the labor advantages offered to the company that owns the concession, such as being above the norms of the Labor Code, "putting them in a special condition or enabling inferior working conditions and remuneration in the mining area in contrast to the rest of the country.
Regarding the economic benefits that the country will receive, Remam states that the payment of the $375 million agreed as Minimum Guaranteed Income (IMG) is very relative because it can be decreased for multiple reasons, such as the drop in the price of copper in the market.
Therefore, Remam called on the Legislative Branch not to approve a contract that seriously damages the sovereignty and future of the country, but also "the common home", which is the planet.
They cite a phrase from Pope Francis: "Environmental protection should be an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation."
They extend a call to Christians, universities, environmental organizations, and others to propose a phased closure of mining exploitation, within reasonable terms that do not violate international schemes and agreements.
“We invite all the citizens of this country to “create an “ecological citizenship” that leads us to behaviors that have an impact on caring for the environment…”, the network states.