Tuesday, August 24 2010 @ 03:33 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
- "Mr. Winner: Among the messages you have transferred o your "read" file, there were at least 2 which referred to the erroneous La Prensa story on Saturday claiming that Petaquilla's tailings pond overflowed due to heavy rains, contaminating the site and forcing workers to flee to safety. This story was patently untrue, but wreaked havoc with investors and the company, just following the release by PTQ of the news of the long-pending Deutsche Bank financing deal. Although countered by a Petaquilla Minerals news release and an article in the Silvermine website, as well as another positive blog, no retraction was ever made by La Prensa, or by Newsroom Panama, which pulled rebuttal comments from its own derogatory article. Consequently, I have just written and submitted a short rebuttal artice for your consideration and hopeful publication. I appreciate your prior support of the Petaquilla's development of their Molejon project, and the fact that it is an initial attempt to responsibly develop Panama's resources. I hope you will see fit either to publish the article as submitted, or write one of your own after investigating the situation. I'll be happy to assist, without credit, in any way you may wish. Sincerely, Peter."
- "Published rebuttals to erroneous story: On August 21st, La Prensa published a story claiming that Petaquilla Minerals' Molejon gold mining site was spilling seriously contaminated water from its supposedly overflowing tailings pond. This story has been refuted by Panama's environmental agency (as published today in La Prensa). Following is a link to a Petaquilla Minerals update to correct the misinformation in the press: www.petaquillalive.com. In addition, there have been two other websites which have tried to offset the apparently purposeful negative publicity:http://bsc2001.wordpress.com/ and http://www.silverminers.com/commentary/wallace/index.php?&content_id=691.
That's Too Bad: I noticed a long time ago that the La Prensa newspaper has a regular and repeating tendency to "lean" toward the environmental angle of any story. Apparently it has now become clear that the information contained in their article about this supposed spill is incorrect. Anyway, by now my personal position on mining operations in Panama should be perfectly clear because I've discussed this topic on literally dozens of occasions. I believe it is possible to conduct mining operations in a responsible manner, while mitigating and controlling potential environmental damage. I'm generally in favor of mineral exploitation as long as a fair share of those resources are returned to the people of Panama. And, the money being spent in the country to develop and operate the mines is significant. The people who are now working at that mine were probably unemployed before, for example. Anyway, I just wish the news media would treat the entire issue "straight up" and fairly. And believe me, if Petaquilla (or any other mine operator) was in fact not in compliance with the environmental oversight requirements, then I would be right there, pinging away. In this case it's sad that the environmental activists had to stoop to an outright fabrication in order to score a few points. Someone should explain to them that these kind of shenanigans will actually hurt their cause, in a strategic sense.
Update: Apparently the wordpress blog has only one entry - this article about Petaquilla and the Facebook postings of Ana Perez and others. That means it was a hit-piece done to get the information out there, but in a manner typical of Panama - trying to hide behind some kind on anonymity.
Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.