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Sunday, November 18 2018 @ 03:53 AM UTC

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What makes Canadian miners Petaquilla and Inmet fight in Panama?

Gold & MiningBy Cecilia Jamasmie for Mining.com - Canadian miners Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. and Inmet Mining Corp. have been on the news in recent weeks as the companies locked horns over land rights near the Cobre Panama copper project, run by Inmet’s subsidiary Minera Panama.

Media has mostly reported on the failed hostile takeover bid of Petaquilla by Inmet, a transaction that was valued in more than $112 million.

What it hasn’t been widely informed is the fact that behind Inmet’s bid there was an attempt to solve a land rights dispute, which would have smoothed the construction and permitting of Cobre Panama, local sources told MINING.com.

At the heart of the conflict lies the fact that, without an agreement with Petaquilla, Inmet’s Minera Panama may not be able to place a tailings facility in lands falling within the Rio San Juan and La Esperanza concessions. This is an area comprised of 11,145 hectares, which Petaquilla has the rights to explore since 2007, as granted by the country’s Department of Mineral Resources.

According to our sources, the battle is likely to delay the necessary permits for Inmet to go ahead with Cobre Panama, expected to become the second most important copper mine in the world.

However, in a statement released Thursday Inmet disputed Petaquilla's claim that it has certain rights that are of strategic value to Inmet and that they could impact the Toronto-based firm’s ability to develop the polemic project.

“While Petaquilla has filed applications for mining concessions adjacent to or in close proximity to the MPSA Concession, Petaquilla has not been granted any concessions as a result of these applications,” said the company in the statement.

It added that Petaquilla is only trying to “create legal ambiguity around these rights.”

In response to Inmet’s statement, the Vancouver-based company said Friday that Inmet's release was an attempt “to confuse the shareholders of Petaquilla about Petaquilla's clear rights to the Rio San Juan and La Esperanza concessions on which Inmet finally acknowledges it plans to build a significant portion of its tailings facility for the Cobre Panama Project.”

In August, Inmet received a whopping $1 billion from fellow Canadian Franco-Nevada (TSX & NYSE: FNV) to support the development costs of its massive copper project in exchange for a future precious metals stream.

Inmet’s $6.2 billion copper-gold porphyry project, the first large-scale mine in Panama’s history, contains more than 32 billion pounds of copper. According to company’s estimations, Cobre Panama also has about nine million ounces of gold and 168 million ounces of silver in measured and indicated resources.

The mine is expected to ship its first consignment of concentrate during the first quarter of 2016, and the life-of-mine is expected to exceed 31 years.

Editor's Comment: Inmet recent issued another bid to buy Petaquilla, up 25% from their prior offer. I suspect sooner or later both of these companies will come to some kind of an agreement, because they are fighting over the money. At some point it becomes a win-win situation for both to strike an agreement. This struggle will in no way threaten the future development of mining in Panama. In fact, what we are really seeing is two companies fighting over their respective abilities to further develop mining in Panama.

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Petaquilla Minerals reports improved results at Molejon gold mine in Panama

Gold & MiningBy The Canadian Press - VANCOUVER - Petaquilla Minerals Ltd., which is facing a hostile takeover bid by Inmet Mining Corp., said Wednesday that its Molejon gold mine in Panama has reported improved results and increased revenue. The gold miner reported revenue of US$25.9 million for the quarter ended Aug. 31, up eight per cent from the prior quarter, while cash costs per ounce of gold equivalent fell 14 per cent to $524. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounted to $12.7 million, up 182 per cent from the prior quarter. Petaquilla said the mine produced 18,459 gold equivalent ounces for the quarter, up two per cent from the prior quarter. The company attributed the improved results to its move to terminate hedging contracts that required it to deliver a specified amount of gold and silver ounces each month below then-prevailing spot prices.

Petaquilla said that by selling gold and silver at prevailing spot rate it expects to realize significant increases in price. Inmet said Tuesday it was standing by its $112-million hostile takeover offer for Petaquilla. Inmet has offered 48 cents per share in cash — or 0.0109 of an Inmet share for each Petaquilla share — in a bid to consolidate the area around its Cobre Panama project. Petaquilla has said the Inmet offer failed to provide adequate value to shareholders and had been unanimously rejected by company's board. Shares in Petaquilla were down a penny at 58 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday, while Inmet shares were up three cents at $47.73.

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Petaquilla board unanimously rejects Inmet bid

Gold & Mining(Reuters) - Petaquilla Minerals Ltd, a Canadian gold producer with operations in Panama, said on Monday its board unanimously rejected a C$109 million ($111.4 million) takeover offer from Inmet Mining Corp, saying it undervalued the company.

The board said Inmet's offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Petaquilla for 48 Canadian cents each did not reflect the target company's growth prospects.

The offer was a 37 percent premium to Petaquilla's closing share price on September 5, when Inmet announced plans for a bid. Since then, Petaquilla's shares have advanced 80 percent. On Monday, they were unchanged at 63 Canadian cents in Toronto.

Inmet, looking to expand in Panama with the acquisition of Petaquilla, made its offer last month and said the bid would remain open until November 5.

Vancouver-based Petaquilla operates a surface gold processing plant at its Molejon Gold Project in south-central Panama.

Toronto-based Inmet owns mining operations in Turkey, Spain and Finland. It has an 80 percent interest in a development property in Panama that is under construction.

UBS Securities Canada Inc is advising Petaquilla on the offer. ($1 = 0.9787 Canadian dollars)

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Turbine Contract For A New Coal-fired Power Plant In Panama To Supply Copper Mine

Gold & Mining Doosan Power Systems subsidiary Skoda Power is to design and supply two 160MW turbines for a brand new coal-fired power plant under construction in Paco, Panama.

The contract, valued at approximately US$45 million, was awarded by SK Engineering and Construction Co Ltd of Korea, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the new build project.

Other partners in the project include US companies Sargent & Lundy and CH2M Hill, providing engineering services to SK Engineering and plant owner Minera Panama S A respectively.

The 320MW Paco power plant is located in Punta Rincon in Panama’s Colon province, approximately 120km west of Panama City. When commissioned, it will supply electricity to a nearby copper mine owned by Minera Panama, the Panamanian subsidiary of Canada's Inmet Mining Corp.

As the grid frequency in Panama is 60Hz, the Paco plant will provide an important reference for Skoda Power’s 3,600 rpm steam turbines. It also represents the first success in several collaborative projects with SK Engineering and Construction in Asia and the Americas.

Editor's Comment: This is the power plant that will provide electricity to the Inmet copper mining project. This investment of $45 million is part of the more than $6 billion that will be spent to build this mine. It represents only .75% (yes, less than 1%) of the total expenditure. To put things in perspective, the annual budget for the entire Judiciary system in Panama is only about $100 million.

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Concerns Over Growth of Mining Activity in Panama

Gold & MiningMining in Panama brings gains for about $45 million annually. This was recognized by Roberto Cuevas, the President of the Mining Chamber of Panama. He said these benefits are reflected in taxes and royalties paid to the state, in addition to wages, direct purchases and social support. "Mining activity is projected to continue growing in the coming years," said Cuevas, who denied that this increased activity is detrimental to the environment, while questioning the existence of groups that oppose mining, and who propose conservation actions.

But his views are not shared by Alida Spadafora, of the Association for the Conservation of Nature (ANCON), who said mining causes deforestation, and the chemicals used in the extraction process pollute the environment. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: The key word is "mitigation." It is perfectly possible to mitigate the environmental damages caused by mining activities. For example - miners need access to the minerals located under the trees, under the spoil, in the rocks below the surface. They have to clear large tracts of trees in order to get access to those minerals. Those trees are replaced on a scale of ten to one. For every hectare of forest cut down, the mining companies have to plant ten hectares of land with new reforestation. And this is not plantations for lumber extraction - they plant a naturally occurring mix of trees and they are creating new forest cover, effectively returning lands that had been cleared decades ago for cattle grazing back to jungle lands. So, it would be logical for anyone who is truly concerned about the environment to think "this is a good thing" strategically speaking. In terms of the chemicals and runoff, these too can be controlled when properly managed. It all comes down to the government forcing the mining companies to abide by environmental laws, and fining the hell out of them when they fail. In turn, the mining companies need to know the rules of the game, and know they won't just be held hostage by corrupt government officials, who force them to either pay bribes, or else be fined for supposed violations. So, it's a three way dance between the mining companies, the environmentalists, and the government.

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Inmet mails $112m takeover offer to Petaquilla shareholders

Gold & MiningBy: Henry Lazenby TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Toronto-listed Inmet Mining on Friday filed its formal $112-million takeover offer for all of the outstanding common shares of fellow-listed gold miner Petaquilla Minerals with Canadian securities regulators and had mailed the offer and related documents to shareholders.

Petaquilla had previously cautioned its shareholders against the offer while it was reviewing the announcement, made after market close on September 5, Petaquilla’s Toronto-listed shares spiked by as much as 60% the day after the announcement. The company had appointed financial advisor UBS to evaluate the offer.

Under the terms of the offer, Petaquilla shareholders could choose to tender shares for the maximum cash value of the offer, which was 48c a share, representing a 37% premium on Petaquilla’s share price on September 5, a day before the offer was first announced. If shareholders chose to take less than 48c a share, Inmet offered the number of common shares of Inmet equal to the excess of 48c over the elected cash amount, divided by $43.94.

Alternatively, Inmet offered paper to the value of 0.0109 of a common share and $0.001 in cash for each Petaquilla share tendered.

The consideration under the share alternative represented a premium of 44% based on the closing prices of $46.08 for Inmet common shares on the TSX on Wednesday.

The offer would be open for acceptance until 17:00 EST, on November 5, unless extended or withdrawn.

The offer was subject to conditions, including a minimum acceptance of the offer by shareholders holding at least 50.1% of the outstanding shares, calculated on a fully-diluted basis. Inmet also required Petaquilla’s shareholder rights plan to be waived, invalidated or cease-traded, the absence of any material adverse change in Petaquilla, and Petaquilla not completing or entering into any binding agreement with regard to its proposed $210-million offer of senior-secured notes announced on July 17.

Meanwhile, the Panama government’s Mineral Resources department on Wednesday confirmed Petaquilla’s eligibility status rights to the contested San Juan exploration area, which the department in 2007 granted to Petaquilla.

Inmet’s Panama subsidiary Minera Panama had asked the Mineral Resources department to "immediately reject any and all” requests for exploration and mining of areas of Cerro Petaquilla, affecting Minera Panama’s proposed development of the San Juan concession.

The Mineral Resources department rejected Minera Panama’s petition, saying it was not submitted within the appropriate timeframe and was without merit.

Petaquilla operates its flagship Molejon openpit gold mine, in Panama, next to Inmet’s $6.2-billion Cobre Panama copper/gold porphyry project, which is Panama’s largest-ever mine development.

Petaquilla expected to produce between 68 000 oz to 70 000 oz of gold from the mine this year.

On Friday, Petaquilla’s Toronto-listed shares traded 3.33% higher at 62 Canadian cents, and that of Inmet traded 1.5% lower at C$46.73 apiece.

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Petaquilla Announces Government of Panama Resolution Rejecting Inmet's Petition; Shares Up 4 Cents

Gold & MiningPetaquilla Minerals Ltd. is up 7% to 61 cents today. The company yesterday announced that the Department of Mineral Resources of the Republic of Panama has issued a resolution declaring that the opposition petition filed by Minera Panama, S.A., a subsidiary of Inmet Mining Corporation, in respect to the area known as the San Juan concession was not presented within the appropriate time and is without merit.

Minera Panama had asked the government to reject all applications for concession requests for exploration and extraction in the area.

The San Juan concession is comprised of 11,145 hectares. Petaquilla's wholly-owned subsidiary, Petaquilla Minerals, S.A., was granted eligibility status rights by the Panamanian government in 2007 to the exploration area.

Close to 1.5 million shares have changed hands. (nasdaq.com)

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Inmet loses key area for its copper mine in Panama

Gold & Mining The transnational project Inmet Mining in Panama that seeks to exploit a copper mine in the district of Donoso suffered a setback this week. The government rejected an application filed by the mining company in which they asked for a concession to be granted over a zone in which they had designed and presented an environmental impact statement for it's tailing basins. The change would force the local subsidiary, Minera Panama, to rethink their project in which investors such as Korea, Singapore and other countries have invested more than two billion dollars. In total, Minera Panama has announced that its total investment in this copper mine would be about 6 billion dollars.

However, Inmet designed and realized studies which included areas covering 11,145 hectares of land that were never officially assigned to them in their concession. Within this zone, Minera Panama gave use to 1,968 hectares to locate their main tailing basins. On Tuesday, the National Directorate of Mineral Resources issued a final decision in which it does not recognize the request made by Minera Panama (Inmet), and which gives the eligibility over the area located in the area of San Juan, in the district of Donoso, to their rival Petaquilla Minerals SA to conduct exploration work in for gold, silver, copper and other minerals.

According to the official resolution, Petaquilla Minerals SA made the first application on this land in December 2003, no one objected to the request during the required 20-day period. In 2008 Minera Panama claimed rights over these lands, opening a dispute between the two mining companies, which concluded on Tuesday in favor of Petaquilla Minerals SA.

The Panama America newspaper sought to obtain a response from Minera Panama (Inment) yesterday, who had created the design for their project which included the area they lost. However, company representatives did not respond to the questionnaire sent yesterday by the Panama America.

Sources involved in the mining sector indicated that Minera Panama has two solutions to the problem; they can rethink their project, which has been delayed by five years, or they can buy the operations of Petaquilla Minerals SA. Inmet tried to anticipate this situation weeks before this resolution was issued by the National Directorate of Mineral Resources, by launching a hostile takeover bid for 100% of the shares of Petaquilla Minerals Ltd, which includes the operation of the gold mine and all areas required to build their tailing basins in the area of San Juan.

However, their offer did not arouse the interest of the shareholders of Petaquilla Minerals Ltd., because Inmet only offered 48 cents per share for each of the 221 million shares it has outstanding. This would represent $114 million in total.

Yesterday Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. informed their shareholders of the decision of the Government of Panama in its favor, and they announced they will proceed with exploration work in the area of ​​San Juan. "Petaquilla remains committed to the development of all areas with mining potential, so that its subsidiaries are entitled to the Petaquilla mining district," said the company which is headquartered in Canada. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: OK, this really seems like a shakedown on the surface. Petaquilla has always been the side show, and Inmet has always been the big deal. I mean, high school kids compared to the Super Bowl. Petaquilla was granted their permission to begin mining operations very shortly after Ricardo Martinelli took office, and they have been at it since 2009. One of Martinelli's well known and favorite practices is to become a major shareholder of a company - so that he makes money when the company makes money - then they use their power as the ones running the government to steer business and contracts towards those companies. In fact, it would not surprise me at all to find out that Martinelli is a shareholder in both Petaquilla and Inmet - so he will make money either way. I don't know if that's the case, but it very well could be.

Now Inmet has been sucked in, and they have Petaquilla embedded under their skin like a tick. They will have to buy out Petaquilla eventually, but the 48 cents per share offer was too low - $114 million from a company that's going to be investing a total of $6 billion to build their copper mine is basically an insult. So in order to crank up the heat, the government of (Ricardo Martinelli) Panama issued this resolution from their National Directorate of Mineral Resources, owned and operated by Martinelli as a part of the Executive branch of government. The message is pretty clear to me. Inmet will have to eventually buy Petaquilla to get them out of the way, it's just going to cost more.

Or, I could be completely wrong. Maybe Martinelli does not hold one share of Petaquilla stock. Maybe the National Directorate of Mineral Resources in Panama simply made a plain and clear and fair decision, based on the law of the land. Maybe I'm just seeing conspiracy and corruption where in fact, it does not exist. But this is Panama, the land where pigs can fly.

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Pershimco Intercepts 36m @ 1.54 g/t Gold & 18m @ 1.47% Copper

Gold & Mining ROUYN-NORANDA, QUEBEC -- Pershimco Resources Inc. is pleased to announce additional results from its ongoing Diamond drilling and Reverse Circulation (RC) resource definition drilling programs at its 15,000 Ha 100% owned Cerro Quema property. At the La Pava Deposit area, significant intercepts include PRH-12141 returning 36m @ 1.54g/t Au from surface entirely within the oxide zone and PDH-12057 returning 18m @ 1.47% Cu from 108m within the sulphide zone. These results demonstrate the continuity of mineralization as the drilling program continues to step-out and target areas both N-S and E-W of known mineralization. (Press Release)

Editor's Comment: Cerro Quema and La Pava are gold deposits being developed in the Azuero peninsula. For more information on this area see this report produced by Bellhaven. Mining in Panama is taking an uptick. Inmet is trying to buy out Petaquilla for example. These deposits in Cerro Quema and La Pava could total as much as 450,000 ounces of gold. Today gold is being sold at $1,775 per ounce, meaning the gold in the ground is worth more than $798 million dollars. Panama recently went through the process of enforcing their political will to allow for the rapid expansion of mining in the country. So if you see a guy walking around Panama City in a suit with a woodie, he's probably a Canadian mining executive.

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Petaquilla Jumps After Inmet Proposes Offer: Vancouver Mover

Gold & MiningBy Simon Casey - Petaquilla Minerals Ltd., the operator of the Molejon gold mine in Panama, jumped the most in more than two years after Canada’s Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN) proposed a C$112 million ($114 million) takeover. Petaquilla rose 54 percent to 54 Canadian cents at 11:42 a.m. in Toronto, the most intraday since Nov. 18, 2009. The shares are trading higher than the per-share bid of 48 Canadian cents or 0.0109 of an Inmet share, indicating investors expect a higher offer. Petaquilla declined 41 percent this year in Toronto through yesterday.

Buying Petaquilla will “eliminate a potential source of disruption” for Inmet’s Cobre Panama copper and gold project, Inmet’s Chief Executive Officer Jochen Tilk said today in a conference call. Toronto-based Inmet plans to spend $6.2 billion developing Cobre Panama into Panama’s largest mine. Petaquilla’s “cash balance is very low, they are not financially strong and we are concerned about that,” Tilk said.

Petaquilla is considering the offer, the Vancouver-based company said today in a statement. Inmet announced its proposed bid yesterday after regular trading ended in Toronto. Inmet is proposing to pay about 4.7 times Petaquilla’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The median multiple in three other takeovers of gold-mining companies valued at $100 million or more announced in the past year is 7.3, the data show.

Inmet’s bid “does not appear expensive and may be of strategic value, but the timing and use of funds will likely not sit well with investors, given the large existing capex commitment to Cobre Panama,” Stephen Bonnyman, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, said yesterday in a note. Inmet’s financial adviser is Dundee Capital Markets Inc. (Bloomberg)

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Prosecutor Calls For Criminal Trial Against Richard Fifer And Other Former Petaquilla Directors

Gold & Mining Richard Fifer Carles, who was the president of Petaquilla Minerals, and two other former directors of the company, face a request for trial for for crimes against the environment, made ​​by the Third Prosecutor of the Judicial Circuit of Colon. It was also recommended to call Keneth Morgan and Marco Tejeira, who where denounced criminally in 2007 for clearing a forested area and for the work being done on a gold mine in the district of Donoso, in the province of Colon. They were accused of not having an environmental impact study to mitigate the damage. The prosecutor's opinion says 55 hectares of forest were affected, and Petaquilla's actions "can be interpreted as a challenge to the state." This media (La Prensa) tried to contact Fifer, Morgan, and Tejeira with no results. Petaquilla said Fifer is traveling in Canada, and did not give the whereabouts of the other two directors. (Prensa)
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Franco-Nevada, Inmet in $1 bln funding deal for Panama project

Gold & MiningAug 20 (Reuters) - Gold-focused royalty company Franco-Nevada Corp said it will provide $1 billion to Inmet Mining Corp for the development of its Cobre Panama copper-gold project in Panama. Franco-Nevada pays miners upfront cash in exchange for future royalties and holds interests in precious metal, base metal, and oil and gas projects around the world. The company, based in Toronto, will get about 86 percent of precious metals output from Inmet's share of production from the mine under the deal. Inmet holds an 80 percent stake in the Cobre Panama project. The remaining interest is owned by a Korean consortium that includes Korea Resources Corp and LS-Nikko Copper Inc.

Toronto-based Inmet said in July it was in talks to sell a portion of future precious metal production from the mine to help finance its 80 percent share of development costs. Inmet has secured $4.2 billion out of the estimated $6.2 billion capital required for the project.

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Inmet Training Local Talent To Be Welders, Heavy Equipment Operators, Repairmen

Gold & MiningTo Cristian Gonzalez, a 19-year Panamanian raised in a remote village on the banks of Rio Caimito, Panama in the Caribbean, getting his internationally recognized welding certificate today is the "opportunity of a lifetime" to "move forward". Their village, nestled in the rainforest, is in the area impacted by the Inmet Canadian mining company, whose subsidiary Minera Panama co-funded, along with the Panamanian government, the training of Gonzalez and 16 other young people from the area, where most work in family farming.

This group, which was preceded by a first group of 11 villagers, was certified by the American Welding Society (AWS), which recognizes them as qualified pipe welders. "Now I will seek employment at the mine, and if I don't get a job then I will go to Penonomé to look for one," Gonzalez told Efe enthusiastically, expressing that in his opinion, the mining project "has given good opportunities to move forward" for the youth of the area because it has allowed the "learn things" they had never imagined.

Mining is a sensitive issue in Panama, where the Indians see this activity as an enemy of their habitat, and one of the seven ethnic groups in the country, the Ngäbe Bugle recently succeeded in passing a law that prohibits mining in their region, after a conflict in which two protesters were killed in clashes with police. Also, environmental groups have warned of the effects of strip mining in the tropics of Panama, because deforestation will destroy at least 5,000 hectares throughout the country within 30 years.

Gonzalez acknowledged that although for him the copper mining project of Minera Panama "goes well," in his community there are "many people who are against the company" because they "say it is not beneficial for the people" on issues like deforestation. While he appreciates his welding certificate and AWS license, the young man also said in the area of Rio Caimito "there are people (armatures) who are extracting gold without any controls."

His classmate Javier Castillo, from the town of Guanibal de Cope in La Pintada, said he "didn't even know what welding was," and he said he was "happy with the opportunity to learn" because of the training. Castillo said he would also seek work with Minera Panama, were "almost all the people" of his village are working, which he said is "not the case in amateur mining."

The first courses being given by the company are in welding, construction, heavy equipment operation, and there are seven women in training, said technical training superintendent, Edwin Salazar. The welding course is being taught at their headquarters in Penonomé, the capital of the central province of Cocle, and "all" of the eleven members of the first class "have jobs", not only with contractors for Minera Panama, but with also companies as well, said Salazar.

In a month they will open a course in industrial maintenance, also funded by the mining company and the State, included in the plan to graduate in 2012 about 400 people in various technical jobs, and they will continue expanding and upgrading the training program until 2016. This year they are scheduled to begin the extraction of copper from the depths of the tropical rainforest in the town of Donoso, that belongs to the Panamanian province of Colon, but which can only be reached by going through Cocle.

"Penonomé is going to be the crucial center for Minera Panama and will be supported by the other centers of Guararé (Los Santos) and Santiago (Veraguas)," said the executive, after emphasizing that the company promotes the construction of four new laboratories in the city to pursue courses in hydraulics, electrical, pneumatic and industrial mechanics. Since 2011 Minera Panama has invested about $300,000 in training and scholarships to students and graduates now Penonomé, according to company data. According to the Canadian company Inmet, the total investment will be close to $6.5 billion dollars from now until 2016, when they will begin the extraction of copper for export, from a high draft port to be built in the Caribbean, and a road that will be the fourth across the isthmus of Panama between the Atlantic and Pacific. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: These young men who are being given a skill at age 19 will probably end up working their entire lives for Minera Panama. The mine will be built over the next four years and then operate for about the next thirty years, extracting copper. While the mine is being built to be opened in 2016, the company will be training the people from the surrounding areas in the skills needed to operate the mine. Simply put, there are not enough people in that area to operate this mine (with a pulse - forget about training, skills, or experience) and Inmet will be sucking people in to work there from around the country.

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Inmet Mining closes $1.5 billion debt financing to fund Cobre Panama

Gold & MiningBy: The Canadian Press - TORONTO - Inmet Mining Corp. says it has closed a US$1.5-billion debt offering to help fund development at the copper-gold Cobre Panama project. With the closure of the deal, the Inmet board has granted approval to start construction on the project. Questions were raised early in 2011 about the future of the Cobre Panama project, when the Toronto miner Lundin Mining Corp. walked away from its planned merger with Inmet. The project has since received government approval for an environmental and social impact assessment required for the building of a mine, port facility and coal-fired power plant. However, environmental groups continue to oppose the project, contending it will destroy 5,700 hectares of forest and affect local wildlife, including a large number of protected animal species.

In January, Korea Panama Mining Corp. decided to exercise its option to take a 20 per cent interest in Cobre Panama copper mine, leaving Inmet with an 80 per cent stake in the development-stage project. It will fund 20 per cent of development costs. Shares in Inmet fell 73 cents or 1.6 per cent to 44.28 in Friday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Editor's Comment: The partners in this project will spend more than $6 billion dollars to build this new copper mine - making it a bigger project than the expansion of the Panama Canal. This is a massively important project for the economy of Panama. It will be pumping new money into the economy in a multitude of ways - new infrastructure, jobs, services, logistics, supplies - you name it. The total landmass of Panama is 7,434,000 hectares, so dropping 5,700 hectares of trees to get at billions upon billions of dollars worth of copper means this project covers 0.07% of the land - not even one tenth of one percent. Meanwhile just Gatun Lake covers 42,500 hectares - and every inch of that land was virgin jungle and rain forest before it was flooded to create the Panama Canal. So - if the environmentalists of the world had their way back at the start of the 20th century, the Panama Canal most likely never would have been built. I'm in favor of the Inmet copper project on the math an economics. And besides, they will have to plant two hectares of reforested land for every one hectare they cut down - a fact omitted from this article. Much of the reporting on the Inmet copper project in Panama is very biased against the project, because many reporters are also raging environmentalists and tree-huggers. I'm also a tree-hugger, as long as the trees I'm hugging are on a teak plantation in Panama...

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Petaquilla Presents Royalties to Government at Press Conference

Gold & MiningPetaquilla Minerals Ltd. is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Petaquilla Gold, S.A., in a formal press conference held in Panama City, Panama, paid royalties for the second half of calendar year 2011 to the Panamanian Government and to the Municipality of Donoso. Mr. Rodrigo Esquivel, President of the Company, began the ceremony by stating that, "Petaquilla Gold, S.A. has developed the first modern gold mining project in Panama, using the latest technology, maintaining high safety standards, respecting the environment, and generating hundreds of job opportunities. As a result of our mining operations, we are delivering royalties for the second half of 2011 totaling US$1,016,373.21 to the Government of Panama and to the Municipality of Donoso. When combined with royalties already paid for the first half of 2011, the total becomes US$1,902,256.52 for the year."

The Mayor of the District of Donoso thanked the Company in response, replying that, "Some time ago the Municipality of Donoso was unknown to many people. We are now on the world map. We owe this to the Petaquilla Gold mining project, supported by the confidence of investors, the Panamanian government and the Donoso people." The mayor further stated that the responsibly-developed Petaquilla Gold mining project has benefitted many communities. He then expressed gratitude to Petaquilla Gold, S.A. and the national government for including Donoso in the country's development plan and providing employment to the region.

To close the conference, Panama's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Ricardo Quijano, urged the Company to maintain its good work and efforts, and stated that it is time for all groups - environmentalists, civil society, and the Panamanian populace in general - to understand the importance of Panama's minerals deposits, which should be developed in a responsible manner for the development of the country.

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