Spanish version

ENVIRONMENT

Concerns raised over site of Petaquilla Gold mine

Work has been suspended at the site due to financial issues.

Spanish version

Temas:

Some 20 months after the suspension of mining operations at the Petaquilla Gold mining site in Molejon, damage to the facility's infrastructure is already clearly evident.

Despite having processed $500 million in gold between 2012 and 2014, Petaquilla Gold, a subsidiary of the Canadian firm Petaquilla Minerals, ran out of funds to continue mining.

Since work stopped in December 2013, the infrastructure at the mine has been deteriorating due to the climate and vandalism.

Yamil Sánchez, of the Ministry of the Environment, indicated that thieves have broken into the site to steal copper pipes and other items to sell on the black market.

Jorge Obón, a spokesman for Petaquilla Gold, accepted that the company has had to reduce its security at the site due to a lack of funds, but said that at no time has the project been abandoned as claimed by environmental authorities.

"We have finished 85 percent of the jobs required by the ministry," he said, criticizing a plan to hire a private company to secure the site. That work mostly entails dealing with contaminated water at the site.

Due to the company's financial problems, Canadian regulators ordered the suspension of the trading of Petaquilla Minerals shares because it has failed to deliver financial statements since the first quarter of 2014.

It also faces complaints from shareholders that dividends were never paid, and claims by workers saying they are owed back wages.

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