Debate over who assumes mine closure costs continues

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The legal definition on this issue is still under discussion, said Minister Jorge Rivera Staff.

The initial plan to close the Donoso mine would cost more than the government projected.

Jorge Rivera Staff, Minister of Trade and Industry, said Monday that estimates were $200 million a year, however, the company reported a higher number days ago.

“The information we handle, by references to mines the size of Donoso, would be $200 a year. However, in the information the company made public, they are talking about between $15 million and $20 million a month. That would upload that number to us,” Rivera told local media.

According to the head of the MICI, at the moment the costs of care and maintenance are borne by the company, but recalled that Cobre Panama faces a particular situation because it can no longer generate income because its activity is stopped.

The minister stated that the discussion is currently focused on determining who assumes these expenses and is part of the legal definition they must specify.

Last week, Copper Panama said that monetary aspects require sources of continuous financing that must be defined in a timely manner to ensure the objectives and sustainability of the plan.

Rivera Staff added that the plan presented by Cobre Panama is a first version because it has to be reviewed by the authorities.

He reiterated that the cut (hole) and the ray tubs are key to the process of care and maintenance of the mine.

Experts have warned that poor maintenance of these structures can lead to serious environmental problems, especially the contamination of nearby bodies of water.

The official also stressed that they will hold meetings with specialists in order to build confidence around the closure project. He also recalled that the next government should give it continuity.

“The confidence to incorporate expert knowledge will provide the basis for the next government to follow. We have to build a state policy around the closure,” he said.

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