Petaquilla claims legal win over Inmet on mining rights in Panama

Canadian miners Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. (TSX:PTQ) and Inmet Mining Corp. (TSX:IMN) may be calling their battle over mining rights a day, as Petaquilla claimed Tuesday it has scored a legal victory in Panama.

In a press release the Vancouver-based company said the Panama Supreme Court has rejected arguments by Inmet subsidiary Minera Panama S.A. in their heated dispute.

Earlier Inmet subsidiary challenged Petaquilla constitutionally after the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MICI) supported the firm’s exploration and extraction rights in five areas of Panama's Donoso District.

"As MICI's ruling was a final determination and not subject to appeal, [Minera Panama] launched a constitutional claim, which the Supreme Court has ruled not to accept, thus upholding the ruling of MICI," Petaquilla said in the release.

According to the company, the ministry also rejected Minera Panama’s application for an area of 11,145 hectares for the location of its tailings facilities, while on Feb. 5 Panama's National Lands Administration Authority upheld a resolution from October denying MPSA the use of additional public lands to develop its copper mining project.

According to our sources, the battle is likely to delay the necessary permits for Inmet to go ahead with Cobre Panama, expected to become the second most important copper mine in the world.

The $6.2 billion copper-gold porphyry Cobre Panama project contains more than 32 billion pounds of copper. Based on Inmet’s estimations, it also has about nine million ounces of gold and 168 million ounces of silver in measured and indicated resources.

The endeavour consists of several conventional open pit mines and the associated infrastructure as indicated in The Basic Engineering Summary Report, which proposes the construction of three pits (Colina, Valle Grande and Botija) and four associated waste dumps. Without an agreement with Petaquilla, reports Nasdaq.com, Minera Panama will be unable to locate the waste dumps as planned.

Cobre is expected to ship its first consignment of concentrate during the first quarter of 2016, and the life-of-mine is expected to exceed 31 years.

(Image by State Library and Archives of Florida)

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