Panamanians protest Canadian mining operations in rainforest areas

Panamanian farmers in the country's rainforest regions have teamed up with environmental activists to protest the impact of Canadian mining operations on the local environment, as well as halt the construction of what is slated to be one of the world's largest copper mines by Inmet Mining (TSX:IMN).

Melissa Fung reporting on behalf of PBS Newshour and Canada's CBC News interviewed local farmers and environmental activists in rainforest communities three hours northwest of Panama City, who complained about the impact of gold mining operations by Vancouver-based Petaquilla Minerals (TSX:PTQ) on the environment and local fauna, with fish in downstream waterways especially badly affected.

We receive reports of fish dying and also of animals that drink water from the river periodically. And those events coincide with periods of heavy rainfall that cause the tailings ponds with toxins to overflow.

Protestors now seek to prevent the construction of a huge open pit copper mine by Toronto's Inmet Mining in the middle of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Protests in the region have already seen heated confrontations, with two indigenous Panamanians killed earlier this year in mining protest.

According to Jennifer Moore of MiningWatch Canada, protests in other parts of Latin America have already brought about moratoriums on mining concessions in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Ecuador, as well as a ban on open pit mining in Costa Rica and a ban on mining in glacier and periglacial systems in Argentina.