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Panama: President Announces Referendum on Mining Contract

  • This decision comes after a week of intense protests throughout the country. Oct. 29, 2023.

    This decision comes after a week of intense protests throughout the country. Oct. 29, 2023. | Photo: X/@ronaldarellanom

Published 29 October 2023 (21 hours 53 minutes ago)
Opinion

The president said that the result of the referendum "will be binding" and noted that it will allow "legitimizing the will of the people."

Panama's president, Laurentino Cortizo, announced Sunday that he will ask the Electoral Tribunal to call a referendum on whether to repeal the controversial renewal of a mining concession to a Canadian company.

RELATED:
Panamanians Protest Against Mining Contract for 7 Days in a Row

The request calls for a referendum to be held on Sunday, December 17, so that Panamanians may decide, through the power of voting, the future of the mining concession to Minera Panama, a subsidiary of Canada's First Quantum Minerals, for the exploitation of an open-pit copper mine.

The new contract was ratified by the national Parliament for 20 years, extendable last October 20 by means of Law 406.

"I have listened with respect to those who oppose the Contract Law with Minera Panama. I believe in democracy and, as president, I understand the clamor of the voices speaking out on the matter," said Cortizo.

The president said that the result of the referendum "will be binding" and noted that it will allow "legitimizing the will of the people."

The tweet reads, "Panama's President Laurentino Cortizo announces a referendum to decide on a controversial mining contract."

Cortizo also announced that the Government will raise to law, the prohibition of metallic mining at national level.

This decision comes after a week of intense protests throughout the country. Citizens are demanding the repeal of the law allowing the controversial contract, which has a history of unconstitutionality. 

Said agreement allowed the exploitation of copper in a mine located in Donoso, in a forested area of the province of Colon, about 120 kilometers from Panama City. 

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