Cobre Panama to use controlled explosions to mitigate enviornmental impact

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By Marco Echevarria

The company also stressed that the copper concentrate belongs to them and will sell it to cover the preservation plan.

The company Cobre Panama reported that in the coming days some activities could be developed for the “environmental stability and integrity of assets that are part of the initial Safe Preservation and Management plan” (PGS).

Activities include the removal of any remaining explosive by the application of blasts or controlled detonation processes, as established by national and international regulations.

Materials that are fully consumed during the explosions will be used for blasts without leaving any residue and an analysis will be carried out after the explosion to ensure that the explosive has been completely destroyed.

According to Cobre Panama, the detonation is necessary to prevent the uncontrolled release of dangerous substances and to mitigate the possible environmental impact, as the remaining explosives can contaminate the surrounding soil and water.

They also indicate that the presence of unused explosives increases the risk of accidental detonation, which could have serious consequences for human safety and the environment.

The company proposes the transfer of the 120,000 concentrated tons of copper that are kept stored near the international port of Punta Rincón.

They add that removal is necessary to avoid possible health, safety and environmental problems associated with heating material caused by chemical reactions, as well as the generation of potentially harmful gases.

Cobre Panama, on the other hand, stated that it has the “intention to sell the copper concentrate,” due to the lack of an alternative financing option for essential conservation and safe management activities to carry out on the site requested by the MICI .

He stressed that article 2 of the Mineral Resources Code provides that this copper concentrate belongs to the company as a concessionaire at the time the ore was extracted and processed, before the unconstitutionality ruling against Law 406 of 2023 on 28 November 2023.

With regard to Puerto Rincón, the company indicated that it should continue to be used because the site of various key inputs for the PGS phase, such as fuel and others, which means the arrival of ships to the port facilities.

“Recycling materials such as steel shall be loaded onto ships during the next period of PGS, after suspension of operations.”

Regarding the Generating Plant, located in Punta Rincón, they detail that it must continue to work to meet the energy needs inherent in ensuring the implementation of the Safe Preservation and Management Plan at the mine site and its related facilities, as well as mitigate possible damage, including environmental damage.

They claim that if there is an energy surplus, it can be supplied to the National Interconnected System (SIN), which could benefit energy consumers across Panama, as the plant helps mitigate the impacts on the electricity tariff and ensures a reliable source of supply, improving the resilience of renewable resources even during the current dry season.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Panamerica