Protecting Panama From Polluting Gold Mines

Panama is experiencing the social and environmental impacts of open-pit mining, and ELAW partners at Centro de Incidencia Ambiental (CIAM) are working hard to ensure that open-pit mining is discontinued and current impacts of ongoing projects are addressed.

ELAW board member Dr. Glenn Miller recently travelled to Panama to help.

In 2014, Petaquilla Gold abandoned its gold mining operations in Colon Province without adequate mine closure and remediation plans in place, and without fulfilling employment obligations to mine workers.

Dr. Glenn Miller at the University of Panama

Now, another gold mining project has been proposed in Los Santos Province, Cerro Quema. CIAM’s attorneys and scientists are working hard to persuade government officials not to approve the project.
Last month, Dr. Miller visited CIAM in Panama to discuss the proposed Cerro Quema gold mining project and its potential environmental and social impacts.
During his trip, Dr. Miller gave a presentation at the University of Panama about the impacts of open-pit gold mining in tropical environments.  Dr. Miller emphasized how the relatively high precipitation rates and low evaporation rates at the site of the proposed Cerro Quema project would likely require discharges of contaminated water that would harm downstream communities.
Dr. Miller also worked with CIAM’s legal and technical staff to provide feedback on amendments to Panama’s Mining Code, which do not include adequate provisions to ensure appropriate mine closure procedures and bonds.
Dr. Miller also met with Panama’s Vice-Minister of the Environment, and Human Rights Ombudsman and staff to discuss the potential human rights impacts of poorly regulated open-pit mining projects.
Thanks to Dr. Miller for strengthening and contributing to CIAM’s work against the environmental and human rights impacts of open-pit mining in Panama.

For more information about ELAW’s work in Panama, please contact:
Maggie Keenan
Communications Director

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