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Inmet Ignoring Court Decision Over Panama Project

Jen Moore Jennifer Moore worked as MiningWatch's first full-time Latin America Program Coordinator from 2010 to 2018.

While Toronto-based Inmet is widely distributing news of the approval of its ESIA by Panamanian environmental authorities in order to pave the way for further investment in the project, the company is ignoring a decision made one day earlier by the country's Supreme Court of Justice to maintain the protected status of the area.

The following article has been translated from the original Spanish available here. The original text of the court decision, available in Spanish only, is available here.

Court maintains protected status of area granted to mining company

by Mary Triny Zea

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 (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.

Commitments

February 1997 - Panama makes an international commitment to protect the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

March 2009 -  195,000 hectares in Donoso are declared a protected area, within the corridor.

May 2009 - The mining company seeks an injunction against the declaration of this area as protected.

December 2011 - ANAM approves the mining project, while the Supreme Court of Justice rules against the company’s petition.

Further details on the subject can be found here.