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Monday, May 27 2019 @ 11:43 AM UTC

Varela Discusses Copper Mine Project

Gold & MiningPanama's Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela is not ruling out the possibility of the start of a copper mining project in the province of Coclé with the participation of the Korean government. He said it is evaluating the issue and that "it is a reality that we do not have to hide from the public." He said Korea has shown interest in participating in the copper mining project, and that President Ricardo Martinelli will discuss the issue in June, when he meets with his Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak. Although Varela did not specify the area where the mining would take place, he said the project could created a lot of jobs.

Regarding environmental concerns surrounding this practice, he said they are studying environmental laws that allow foreign companies to participate in the development of mining in the country. "I am aware there are concerns in the environmental sector, but we cannot close the door to the growth of the country," he said. For his part, Julio Cesar Castillo, Director of Environmental Quality of the ANAM, said they would audit the operation to ensure 100% compliance with environmental laws. He reiterated that it falls to ANAM to reduce the environmental impact of all projects to obtain sustainable development. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: This is probably a reference to the Inmet project and South Korea's LS-Nikko Copper. Last year, Inmet agreed to give South Korea's LS-Nikko Copper the right to acquire a 20 percent right in Cobre Panama. This is the huge open pit copper mine project I've been talking about for quite some time, which could end up being one of the largest copper deposits in the world. The Koreans probably don't trust the Panamanian business environment and have concerns over corruption. They are most likely afraid of making a substantial commitment to the project without concrete guarantees, which will probably emerge from the discussions between Martinelli and Lee Myung-Bak.

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