Take physic, pomp

Petaquilla Minerals (PTQ.to): Updating LatAm’s worst mining company

Felipe Camargo: Noriega’s henchman and convicted human rights
abuser is now Head of Security at Petaquilla Minerals…
you just can’t get the staff these days, can you?
As birds of a feather flock together, the latest recruit to the empire of Richard ‘lil dick’ Fifer should come as little surprise. Its new head of security hired to keep the locals in check is a guy named Felipe Camargo. If that name rings a bell amongst all the Latin American modern history professors tuning in tonight let me refresh memories by saying that yes, it is the same Major Felipe Camargo who was head of the G-2 ‘Military Intelligence’ army hit squad in Noriega’s time and ol’ pineapple face’s right-hand man. Yes, it’s the same Felipe Camargo that was in charge of Noriega’s gun running operation. Yes, it’s the same Felipe Camargo who was jailed after the overthrow of Noriega and later convicted in 1992 of human rights violations and yes, it’s the very same Felipe Camargo with another 30 charges of human rights abuses left pending and unanswered.

That’s the kind of guy who gets a job as “Chief of Security” under the scumbag Fifer and his worst-of-breed goldmine. I bet the Scrabble board doesn’t get much use in the company canteen.

Meanwhile, locals have also stepped up their campaign against this aberration of an open pit slum and as of May 11th blocked the road to Petaquilla demanding that the government close the thing once and for all. The roadblock was solid and permanent until May 23rd (ie last weekend) when the local police were ordered to unblock the road by ultra-corrupt local politico for the Coclé region, thus the cops moved in, cracked heads, arrested 20 people including famed enviro activist Carmencita Tedman and the local head of the anti-mining lobby.

Also, despite the fact that the company is still in non-compliance with the national environmental laws it says it will be producing at a rate of 2,200tpd throughput as of next month. Its spokesidiot was also quoted in the local press as saying there is no proof that PTQ.to has polluted the local environment despite things like dead fish floating in rivers and the minor detail of a one million US dollar fine from the ANAM environmental agency that was slapped on its tush in 2008 and has so far refused to pay.

The company cannot legally operate. Got that? Without the environmental permit that it still does not have it should be under a total stop-work order. However it didn’t stop these douchebags from claiming on April 9th that the mine had made first pour of gold. It ignores laws, collects fines and then refuses to pay them. It hires convicted human rights abusers to run its security operation (torture and rape were just two of Camargo’s calling cards according to the judge) and then beats the living crap out of non violent protestors. Petaquilla Minerals and the people that run it are a pox on the reputation of all Canadian mining companies in Latin America. How can you possibly claim to be responsible when the whole industry, from fellow miners to brokerages to analysts to commentators to investors, turn a blind eye to companies like PTQ.to? Allowing Fifer and his woeful excuse of a mining company to continue reflects badly on the sector, not just one company. Ask yourself if you want a clean and respectable industry. If you do, join me in denouncing Petaquilla Minerals.

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