Protesters: Panama police in standoff with protesters over Canadian-run mine

PANAMA CITY: Police in Panama fired teargas Monday at protesters burning tires and blocking roads to protest a contract permitting a Canadian firm to proceed working Central America’s largest copper mine.
The protesters are involved about potential environmental harm from operations on the mine owned by First Quantum, one of many largest copper extractors on the planet.
After protests erupted on Friday and continued over the weekend, demonstrators once more took to the streets Monday in Panama Metropolis and in different provinces, waving placards studying: “Defend our pure sources,” and “Cease destroying our lands.”
The federal government canceled college for the day for concern of riots, as visitors in Panama Metropolis was disrupted and a few metro stations needed to shut.
Police stated 25 folks have been arrested.
Opened in 2019, the open pit Cobre Panama mine, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital and 20 km from the Caribbean coast, can produce 300,000 tons of copper per yr.
In 2021, Panama’s Supreme Court docket ratified a decrease courtroom’s ruling that the unique concession of mining rights granted to subsidiary Minera Panama till 2037 was unconstitutional.
Negotiations between the federal government and First Quantum have been reopened and finalized earlier this yr.
The brand new contract determines that the corporate can pay the federal government a minimum of $375 million every year — ten instances greater than beforehand — and permits First Quantum to function in Panama for 20 years, renewable for one more 20.
However opponents imagine the quantity remains to be inadequate, particularly given potential threats to the atmosphere, and protesters need a regulation handed Friday to formalize the settlement to be repealed.
“We’re in a combat towards the sale of our homeland,” stated labor chief Saul Mendez.
The federal government says the mine generates about 8,000 direct jobs and 40,000 oblique ones, contributing 4 p.c to GDP.

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