Spanish version

ENVIRONMENT

Petaquilla accused of failing to pay royalties

The company allegedly owes $1.5 million to the state.

Spanish version

Temas:

A failure to pay royalties owed to the state has prompted the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to revoke its contract with the mining company Petaquilla Gold, which operates a mine in Donoso, Colón.

The company, a subsidiary of the Canadian firm Petaquilla Minerals, failed to pay royalties corresponding to parts of 2013 and 2014, said the ministry. The sum owed to the government exceeds $1.5 million.

The company acquired the concession to operate the mine in 1997. It stopped mining in December 2013 due to financial problems.

The situation has impacted 604 employees, who are owed back wages and other benefits. The workers are owed some $8 million. 

The company was granted a six-month extension to resolve its financial problems, but that deadline has expired. A decision on a request for another extension has not been announced.

There are also environmental concerns at the site which will be addressed using funds from the National Assistance Program (PAN). That money will also be added to the amount that the company owes.

The Ministry of the Environment has also filed a criminal complaint against Petaquilla Gold and its legal representative, Richard Fifer, for allegedly failing to comply with regulations regarding the closing of the mine.

If these issues are not resolved, the company could lose its concession.

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