Petaquilla Minerals’ own version of its mining operations

According to Petaquilla Minerals, the Canadian company undertaking the gold extraction, “the Petaquilla mine, the biggest gold-mining project in Central America, has proven, in less than a year of social work, to be the most successful model of sustainable mining in existence”.[1] The corporate social responsibility (CSR) page of its website describes its social programmes as main production modules which serve as:

mechanisms to foster community productivity by promoting a more varied economy and sustainability. This is achieved by assisting people with ventures that will provide for a livelihood beyond subsistence farming, identifying more effective and efficient manners of production, and transferring the use of new technology.[2]

It should be noted that, apart from these very few small-scale programmes, the CSR page of the company’s website says nothing of the many other aspects of responsibility – pollution, pollution clear-up, forced evictions, land clearances, deforestation, the lack of compensation payments, and more.

At the crux of the purportedly ‘sustainable’ mining model is the notion of social and environmental compensation. Another of Petaquilla Minerals’ websites states “we are committed to being aware of the environmental impact the working of a mine can cause, but above all we are sufficiently capable of counteracting this impact with our actions”[3] Underlying this notion of sustainability is the acknowledgment that the mining will cause significant damage, and thus counterbalancing measures must be taken to enable the project to pass necessary government legislation and to gain support of the local communities. Such measures include reforestation, development of infrastructure, and education and social projects.

[1] Gold Exploration in Panama, Petaquilla Minerals Ltd, (accessed 5 August 2009)
[2] (Accessed 14 December 2010)
[3] Desarrollo Petaquilla, Petaquilla Minerals Ltd, (accessed 5 August 2009)