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New Panama Mine Invades Preservation Resolution?

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Written by Jesse Levin   
Friday, 26 September 2008 09:22
Panama MiningThe tip of the Azuero peninsula is a place of raw beauty. The forest still reins supreme where it runs headlong into the unspoiled jagged coastline. The mountains that rise up behind the coast afford incredible views and cooler climates. While infrastructure in the way of restaurants, store health facilities and stores are next to non-existent, store the attractiveness of the area is indisputable. Throw a copper and gold strip mine into the equation and the areas appeal may change, just a bit! As the quality of roads continue to improve travel time from the remote areas to nearby cities such as Las Tablas and Chitre are reduced. Investors and travelers seeking a lost world feel are adamant about the regions current prowess as an unspoiled playground, and its future potential as a bastion for ecotourism. An additional plus is the proximity of Panama's most spectacular and unexplored national park, Cerro Hoya.

Panama MineThe Canadian mining company Bellhaven Copper and Gold holds large mining concessions on the Azuero peninsula totaling over 57,000 hectares. Their newest acquisition is an agreement to purchase 100% of the Cerro Quema gold and copper mine property from Carena Equities Corp. and Glencairn Gold Corp. Cerro Quema and the Pitaloza Project, another Bellhaven concession, are located in the hills near La Pava off the road to Tonosi from Chitre/Macaracas.

These locations are in the hills roughly 20 miles from the coast but sit on tributaries to vital rivers including the Quesma. I am not an environmental activist nor am I a geologist or mining expert but I do know that strip and leach mining, techniques used to extract gold and copper, are devastating to the environment. A common chemical used to extract the minerals from the soil is cyanide, a substance you don't want running into the rivers.

According to a press release from the municipality of Tonosi put out on January 30th of this year "Tonosi has approved a resolution declaring the district free of mining exploration and exploitation." On the contrary, according to Bellhaven's website, the Cerro Quema mine, located in the district of Tonosi, is scheduled to be active by 2009, a direct contradiction to the resoltuion.

Panama Mine

There has been a lot of land grabbing taking place along the coast in areas like Cambutal and Bucaro, and in the mountains around Bajo deGuera, along the roads coming down from Las Tablas and Macaracas into Tonosi. Mining activities impact large areas, and if purchasing land in this particular geographic region is on the agenda, then knowing the current, and future locations of mines are an important factor, so buyer beware.

Jesse Levin is an authority author on the Azuero Peninsula, specifically the regions of Pedasi and Tonosi.

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Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2008 09:49