Temas Especiales

30 de Ene de 2023

Nacional

Peasants arrested over gold mine

The anti-riot units arrested 12 people among them, the Chiriqui environmentalist Carmencita Tedman.

The anti-riot units arrested 12 people among them, the Chiriqui environmentalist Carmencita Tedman.

A peasant who did not want to be identified, said that he was really afraid, because policemen were hitting the protestors mercilessly, even women and children.

He added that when all this was happening Petaquilla Gold helicopters were surveying the scene.

Peasants and environmentalists have been demanding the closure of the controversial Petaquilla Gold Mine project for the last ten days.

According to Dr Anabel Herrera, an environmentalist, who has been fighting the mining company for the last two years, Petaquilla Gold has destroyed thousands of hectares of virgin jungle, polluted the rivers and caused the disappearance of fish and wildlife from the area.

“We were protesting in a peaceful manner, so I do not understand why the police was so violent. I am asking the National Police director Francisco Troya to release the peasants, after all, they are ill because of the mining operation,” said Herrera.

Meanwhile, employees of Petaquilla Gold were staging another protest in the city of Penonome, Cocle province, to ask the authorities to the remove the peasants from their mining camp.

The leader of the Petaquilla Gold workers, Edy Rosas said that the workers are tired of being threatened by peasants and environmentalists who prevent them from earning a living.

“We have not being able to go to work for the last ten days, because of these people and the authorities are not doing enough to stop them,” said Rosas.

“The company has reduced the number of workers, because of the constant protests of peasants and environmentalists, who do not want development in the area,” said the union leader.

“If Petaquilla Gold decided to close the operations more than 1500 jobs will be lost forever in an area of high unemployment,” said Rosas.

“The government should do something about and create a high level commission to decide if it going to allow the operation of the open cast mine,” said Rosas.

In November 2008, the National Environmental Agency ANAM ordered Petaquilla Gold to suspend its mining operations, because an environmental impact study had not yet been approved.

The ANAM also imposed a fine of almost $2 million for environmental damages.