Before the mine started operating, Panama's environmental authority (ANAM) fined Petaquilla Gold nearly $US 2 million for environmental degradation, as roughly 80 per cent of the area's forest cover had been lost.
Richard Fifer, CEO of Petaquilla Minerals, did not respond to a request for comment on Facebook as he faces charges in Panama of withholding Petaquilla Gold's social security contributions to the national government, worth $US 3.1 million.
Despite the ministry's reassurances, accusations of environmental and human rights breaches continue pile up against Petaquilla Minerals, and other Canadian companies operating around the world.
Complaints have already piled up against the Cobre Panama copper mine, and in March last year, a legal team filed a criminal complaint against First Quantum's Minera Panamá for allegedly preventing the free flow of Panamians around the mine site.
Local signage on the road to Coclesito , Panama, touts the benefits of Minera Panamá's upcoming copper mine nearby, captured in July 2017.