Panama, Nov 18 (EFE) .- The "serious" mining companies of the region innovate and work on action plans to change the enclave model to one committed to sustainable development, the environment and inclusion, and the most successful experience is a copper project in Panama that breaks with the original exploitative archetype.
The above is what was highlighted in an interview with Efe the president of the Mining Chamber of Panama (Camipa), Zorel Morales, during the International Mining Expo Central America and the Caribbean 2017, held this week in the capital Panamanian.
At the Mine Expo, organized by the Camipa and the Central American and Caribbean Mining Federation, Latin American experts analyzed these new paradigms in the industry.
Morales acknowledged that mining "has a burden from the past that is the fact that many mistakes were made, such as the model of the enclave that arrived, took, finished the mine and everything was the same or worse than before the mine was there, "but" now there is another model of action on the part of serious mining companies. "
Currently, according to the director of the Camipa, is not only about doing things right from the point of view of the operation of the company, but also "doing good as a good neighbor in the community where they operate. "
In addition, he said, there are also regulations that also" are changing, moving or pushing companies, motivating them to always comply with that practice. "
He highlighted in that sense that in Central America and the Caribbean the most attractive country at the moment for mining investment is Nicaragua, because the Government" directly "is supporting the mining sector, since "it has found that through mining it can develop remote areas that are poor".
Even, he pointed out, "there are now regional initiatives in which They work with experts, creating this new vision or new role for companies in how to be a platform for development, not simply enclaves. "
He emphasized that precisely, in parallel with the Minera Expo, the Latin American Mining Organization held a general assembly in which they talked about the establishment of action plans, "which seek for companies to improve their way of action "and that" the state apparatus to supervise the mining projects be strengthened. "
Morales affirmed that" the most successful mining production experience "and of this new mode of action "is the one that is taking place here in Panama with the Cobre Panama mining project", in the Caribbean province of Colon.
The company responsible for Cobre Panama is the Panamanian Minera PanamÃ¡, a subsidiary of Canadian multinational First Quantum Minerals, which holds 80% of the project's shares.
"It is a world class project, a project enormous, that has developed its construction with great success, not only in the economic or technical aspect, but also in the social and environmental aspect, "affirmed Morales.
In the area where Minera PanamÃ¡ operates, entrepreneurial programs have been implemented through which three peasant cooperatives were created that provide around 60 monthly tons of fruits and vegetables to the operation of the mine.
These are parallel undertakings to the mine, that when the exploitation of copper ends they will remain. built infrastructure such as roads, schools and electrification.
In the environmental part, he added, the project has brought as a benefit "an improvement and conservation and protection of the ecosystem where it is operating ", which is the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
The Biological Corridor" is a protected area but there have never been funds for protect it, and now with the project that area is being protected, the flora and fauna are being monitored, with any number of cameras installed throughout the area ", assured.
Minera Panama has also committed to the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) to reforest the area where it operates and to which by 2040, when the useful life of the project, are integrated the 250,000 hectares of forest of the Biological Corridor that were left when the construction of the mine began.
He recalled that this protected area had approximately one and a half million hectares of forest in its creation in 1997, but that agriculture and subsistence livestock, and illegal mining, reduced it to 250,000 hectares.
The project, said Zorel Morales, "has brought as benefit an improvement in the conservation and effective protection of the ecosystem where it operates, that brings down the myth that mining comes only to end the environment and leave waste. "
" The first pound of copper has not yet been exported and we already have benefits of social order and also of order environmental, "he said.
This" is being watched by many people, is a model that wherever I go to give lectures, here and abroad, surprises ".
Morales explained economic, although the mine is under construction and will not operate until 2019, it is estimated that it will produce between 320,000 and 350,000 tons of copper per year, around 2,000 million dollars in metals of this product that Panama will export.
This will generate that the mining sector in the country goes from being 1.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 10.5%, taking into account copper price is rising and reaching above 3.5 dollars.
"The mining sector is going to become a very important sector and one of the pillars for the economy of the country", affirmed the president of the Mining Chamber of Panama.