The project, which amended Act 23 of 1963 increases fees, royalties and fines for the mining sector.
The entities responsible for ensuring proper management of the projects will work together with the Commerce Ministry and the National Environmental Authority.
"For the administration of Ricardo Martinelli, it is fundamental to reform the code and include in the new legislation the possibility for foreign governments to invest in mining concessions. The change in the law occurs just when the Government announced it will bid the exploitation of copper mine Cerro Colorado, one of the largest reserves in Latin America," reports Prensa.com.
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The Panamanian National Assembly approved bill number 277 which amends the Mineral Resources Code.
The proposal, which was approved in first and second debate, was adopted with 42 votes in favor, 15 against and no abstentions and it adjusts fees and royalties to be paid for mineral concessions, which will increase to 5%.
Modifications planned to the Mining Resources Code also include requirements for environmental studies.
In addition to the increase in royalties from 2% to 4%, the reforms to the Mining Resources Code that the Panamanian government is working on will include the payment of taxes as soon as companies generate revenue, as well as the requirement for environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
The Commerce Commission of the National Assembly has begun discussing Bill No.394, which restores repealed articles in the Mineral Resources Code.
A press release from the Panamanian National Assembly reads:
The Commerce Commission began discussing Bill No. 394, which restores repealed articles in the Mineral Resources Code, Act 109 of 1973 and Act 55 of 1973, which, taken together, regulate the exploration and exploitation of metallic and non-metallic minerals.
The National Assembly will endorse the new code in 2011.
The mining code changes have already been approved by the cabinet last October.
"According to the head of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Roberto Henríquez, the Presidency has decided to extend the period in order to provide all the time in the world for the referendum, so that no one can say it was done in a hurry” stated to Prensa.com.