Mining Reforms Adopted In Second Debate
Thursday, February 10 2011 @ 08:43 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
During the second debate reforms were introduced to the original project, such as increasing royalties from 4% to 5%. In addition, it was agreed that this 1% increase would go to the program of Disability, Aging and Death of the Social Security Fund. According to estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, this will represent about $22 million annually. They also approved that 2% of those royalties would go to construction projects and development programs in the areas and communities surrounding the mining concessions.
Roberto Henriquez, the Minister of Trade and Industry, estimated that with these changes the company Minera SA Panama - which has a copper concession Donoso - will have to pay about $22 million dollars more per year to the treasury. "If they [Minera Panama SA] want to do business in the country, they have to pay more. They will have to adapt to the new canon" he said.
After the second debate - after 10:00 pm - a group of indigenous Ngäbe who had remained in the Assembly during the discussion of the project, were enraged against the government and deputies and they tried to enter the Palacio Justo Arosemena. At press time, a contingent of riot police arrived at the Assembly to control the situation, but the Indians demanded the withdrawal of the project and the presence of the president, Ricardo Martinelli. While this was happening in the capital, in San Felix, Chiriqui, the Deputy Minister of Labour, Luis Ernesto Carles, who chairs the committee appointed by the Executive to mediate with the opposition to mining, met with members of the Association Ngäbe Bugle. (La Prensa)