The Minera Mine in Donosco
A bill approving a contract between the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) and t Minera Panama) which has invested over $6 billion in the Panama economy. has been rejected by the National Assembly’s Economy and Finance Committee.
The project was included in the agenda of extraordinary sessions convened, until June 30, by President Juan Carlos Varela.
Earlier committee chairman Nelson Jackson Palma (CD) said the state should review the royalties it will receive for the extraction of copper by First Quantum, owner of Minera Panama, which operates in Donoso, Colon province.
The commission began the discussion of bill 766 on Wednesday, May 29. Jackson considered that the environmental damage does not justify the 2% royalty that the company will give to the State and commented that, as a minimum, it should receive 10%.
First Quantum is preparing to start the export of copper concentrate in June and this year it expects to sell between 140,000 to 170,0000 tons of copper concentrate.
According to the 1997 contract approved under the presidency of Ernesto Pérez Balladares, for the extraction of copper, gold, and silver, the State will receive 2% of the gross sale of each mineral.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that contract unconstitutional. According to the MICI, the ruling, to date, has not been enforced, "because a series of memorials presented, on the one hand, by Minera Panama, including clarification and reconsideration against the ruling and, for another,by the MICI, which submitted a request for clarification of the ruling, all of which are still awaiting a ruling by the Supreme Court . "