Alert to Investors re: Petaquilla Minerals and the Molejón Gold Mine in Panama

MiningWatch Canada today released an Alert to Investors regarding Petaquilla Minerals and its Molejón gold mine in Panama, timed to coincide with the company’s annual meeting in Vancouver.

The report documents a number of serious problems that the organisation alleges are not being properly disclosed to investors. According to MiningWatch spokesman Jamie Kneen, “Investors should be fully informed of the realities surrounding Petaquilla Minerals’ flagship property.”

The report shows the company has run afoul of the Panamanian government, as well as environmental organisations and local communities, putting itself in an isolated position.

“Petaquilla doesn’t have any backing from a major mining company, having lost its interest in Petaquilla Copper to Inmet Mining, and set itself up in a hostile relationship with Inmet and Teck,” says Kneen.

“At the same time, its failure to respond to legal requirements and environmental regulations has put it in conflict with a huge range of Panamanian groups and led to charges being laid by the Panamanian environmental authorities. The legal status of the concession itself may well be in jeopardy,” he adds.

Petaquilla Minerals acknowledges that it “does not have a feasibility study and there is no assurance that these projections [for size of the Molejón gold deposit] will be realized,” (in a November 3, 2008 news release) and that among other risks, “there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain or maintain all necessary permits,” (in its May 2008 Annual Information Form).

However, nowhere in its publications has the company disclosed the specific nature and seriousness of the risks it is facing. Says Kneen, “These issues are of acute interest to Panamanians, especially those affected by the environmental degradation documented by Panamanian authorities – but they should be of special interest to Petaquilla shareholders whose investment is at stake.”

He adds, “Such issues should also be of concern to Canadians, as long as this is being perpetrated by a Canadian company with Canadian government backing.” The Canada Pension Plan holds over a million shares in the Vancouver-based company.

For more information:
Jamie Kneen, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439