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After 44 years of exploration, work is proceeding rapidly to establish the giant copper mine Cobre Panama by Minera Panama, at Donoso on Panama’s Caribbean coast in the Colon province. Over 2,500 employees are hard at work to build what will be the most important copper mine in Panama and the region.
Complementing the main works, there are over twenty socio-economic and environmental projects to help the towns nearby the site in the Colon province. Ninety percent of the workers are Panamanian and 20% of these are from areas close to the project.
Minera Panama has improved the community infrastructure thanks to the Sustainable Community Development Strategic Plan which focuses on five main areas – health, education, social and economic development, institutional development and the environment.
Now the project is entering an interesting stage where community and company will benefit each other with a port, a road and an electricity generating station.
Steve Botts, Minera Panama president and CEO announced that a deep water port and breakwater are being built in Punta Rincon to serve the mine. The port it will be capable of accommodating Panamax ships. There is also a road connecting the mine to the port, which has only 12 Km to finish. The road and the port will greatly benefit the little villages on the coast that until now have been isolated.
The electric plant that will give power to the port and the mine will be able to generate 300 megawatts. The excess of energy during the first 10 years of the developments will give around 50 megawatts to the National Integrated System and is going to be connected to the distribution network located in the sector of Llano Sánchez Aguadulce, Cocle province.
The environmental and social impact study for the mine took four years to prepare and involved over 100 professionals of many specialties. The study was approved by ANAM, the National Environmental Authority, in December 2011, after 16 months of evaluation.
One important aspect of this environmentally-friendly energy plant is the series of technologies to control emissions, such as particle filters, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and a system that reduces chimneys gases.
Botts reiterated Minera Panama’s promise to care for the environment, create employment and work with the community to improve the quality of life for the people of the area. Hundreds of meetings have been held with the communities, ONGs and local authorities to advise them and address their concerns.
The social plan of Minera Panama includes support for education, improving community infrastructure, strengthening institutions, health, promoting local products, PYMES and entrepreneurs.