"Mining causes irreparable environmental damage, which takes many years to recover from," a protester said.
Panamanians persist in demanding the repeal of the law through which President Laurentino Cortizo granted a concession to the company Minera Panama, a subsidiary of the Canadian firm First Quantum Minerals, to extract copper from an open-pit mine in Donoso, a forested area in the province of Colon, approximately 120 kilometers from Panama City.
On Saturday, eight vessels attempted to enter the facilities at Punta Rincon port in an effort to disrupt Minera Panama's port operations.
Previously, on Friday, Cortizo issued a decree prohibiting the granting of new metallic mining concessions in the country. However, his decision has not quelled the unrest among Panamanians, who continue to take to the streets and stage mass protests.
"The president hasn't informed us of anything. He's simply holed up in his house. He hasn't given us any solution to the problem he created," a protester in Panama City said.
���� Huge protest in Panama. The government has approved an open pit copper mine owned by a CANADIAN company.— Attentive Media (@AttentiveCEE) October 26, 2023
The mine that will obliterate an area of rainforest over 3 times the size of Manhattan!#Panama #Protest #Mining #FirstQuantum #CobrePanama #PanamaValeMasSinMineria… pic.twitter.com/zajZ7yDdZg
"Whole families are marching because we know that mining causes irreparable environmental damage, which takes many years to recover from. The government needs to realize that we don't want mining," said another Panamanian citizen.
"The contract needs to be eliminated. Mr. Laurentino Cortizo, eliminate that contract! Do it for the people! We don't want mining contracts," he added.
Besides denouncing the prevailing corruption in the Cortizo administration, the Panama CIty protesters expressed their "tiredness of political leaders' abuse."
Signed in 1991, the contract with Minera Panama has been criticized multiple times for being unconstitutional. Nevertheless, it was ratified by the Parliament on Oct. 20.