Spanish version

ENVIRONMENT

Concerns raised over mining site

The government and Petaquilla Gold are at odds over the status of its mine in Colón.

Spanish version

Temas:

Five contractors interested in a government contract to clean up contamination at the abandoned Petaquilla Gold mining site in Colón toured the site yesterday.

The mine has been abandoned since 2013 due to Petaquilla's financial problems. the government is aiming to clean up the site to reduce the risk of contaminating nearby water supplies through funds from the National Assistance Program (PAN).

The inspection was delayed for two hours when employees at the site refused admittance to the site. But they relented once the police and San José de el General Mayor Brigido Tenorio intervened.

Yamil Sánchez, national director of environmental quality of the Ministry of the Environment, said that the inspection was supposed to take place Tuesday, but workers would not allow them to enter, which is why the police and the mayor were asked for their assistance.

Jorge Obón, secretary of the Board of Directors of Petaquilla Gold and spokesman for the company, said that the mine is private property and that the authorities could pass, but wanted to bar the companies from entering.

The reference price of the work is $ 1.9 million. It calls for the draining of three meters of water from a tailings containment pond and other work. This will ensure that contaminated material does not leak into the surrounding area.

Water that is extracted from the ponds will be isolated in a separate area.

The concern is that heavy rains could flood the area.

Petaquilla Gold has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court to stop the work, which has yet to been resolved.

Obón said that most of the work has already been done by the company, and the rest was already planned.

"The state wants to spend almost $2 million, and we are spending $200,000," he said.

Petaquilla Gold spokesman added that several requests have been sent to the Ministry of the Environment to allow them to continue the cleanup, but they have not received any response. 

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