The mining union is complaining about lack of controls on growing illegal mining activities, driven by the need to avoid torturous bureaucratic formalities.
The main problem denounced by formal mining companies is the effect that the illegal activity has on prices, since illegally mined products sell at lower prices, preventing the formal sector from competing on equal terms.
Entrepreneurs in the sector point out that delays in granting licenses for mining constitute a virtual moratorium, preventing investment and encouraging illegal mining.
In the view of representatives of the sector, "... 'The fact that new concessions are not granted, unfortunately, is a de facto moratorium '... " said Zorel Morales, president of the Mining Chamber of Panama (Camipa).
In order to pay for the increase in pension payments, an increase has been made to taxes on extraction of aggregates, which represents an increase of 12 to 25% in the price of housing.
Government officials say that the new tax on the final price of housing only represents an increase of 1%, while the construction industry argues that prices will rise by 25%. In light of this situation different unions have presented several alternatives, including a 0.5% increase on building permits and raising the tax on casino winnings by 5%.
Production by Panama's mines and quarries increased by 31 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period of 2007. The growth is being spurred by a construction boom and high international metal prices.
Demand for rock, sand, gravel and other materials has soared for projects that include the increase in the capacity of the Panama Canal, port expansions, the construction of a seafront boulevard, and residential developments.
Constructora Celaque is a leader when it comes to construction of civil projects and mining in Honduras with more than 15 years of experience.
Operates in Honduras and Honduras
Phone: (504) 2239 6794 - (504) 9905 7845
Armstrong Equipment, Inc. is an American based company that specializes in the distribution to Latin America of equipment and parts used in the mining sector, rock crushing and asphalt paving.
Operates in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama
Phone: (305) 592 8361