VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov 2, 2012) - Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. ("Petaquilla" or the "Company") (PTQ.TO)(PTQMF)(P7Z.F) responds to the news release made yesterday by Inmet Mining Corporation ("Inmet") about the rights of Inmet''s subsidiary, Minera Panama, S.A. ("MPSA"), in relation to the Cobre Panama copper project.
Inmet''s release is yet another example of attempts to confuse the shareholders of Petaquilla about Petaquilla''s clear rights to the Rio San Juan and La Esperanza concessions on which Inmet finally acknowledges it plans to build a significant portion of its tailings facility for the Cobre Panama Project.
Inmet makes no mention of the decision of the National Authority of Land Administration ("ANATI") of the Government of Panama dated October 18, 2012, that was the subject of Petaquilla''s news release of October 22, 2012. MPSA had applied to ANATI to lease from the Government of Panama over 7,500 hectares of land adjacent to the MPSA Concession, including lands falling within the Rio San Juan and La Esperanza concessions.
In responding to MPSA''s application, with input from the Panamanian National Directorate of Mineral Resources, ANATI ruled on a number of key issues, including:
- in order for MPSA to exercise the privilege provided to it in the 1997 Petaquilla Law, Contract Law No. 9, to obtain from the Government of Panama a lease of lands, it is a precondition that such lands be available for lease;
- by virtue of Annex IV of Law 9, lands that are subject to either mineral concession rights or applications for mineral concessions by Petaquilla are not available for lease by MPSA; and
- consequently, MPSA is not entitled to the lease it has requested from the Government of Panama relating to lands subject to Petaquilla''s concession rights and applications for concession rights, including the Rio San Juan and La Esperanza concessions.
In its ruling, ANATI directed MPSA to negotiate with Petaquilla for a friendly agreement for access to such lands, failing which MPSA''s sole alternative would be to pursue a resolution through private arbitration with Petaquilla, as provided for in Law 9.
Inmet''s entire argument in its recent news release that it has the right to construct its tailings facility on the grounds that Petaquilla has not been granted full concession rights, but only made applications for concession rights, fails completely to acknowledge the special regime for concession applications by Petaquilla established by Annex IV of Law 9 and the ruling of ANATI in Petaquilla''s favour confirming the meaning of that regime.
MPSA cites Annex IV as giving it the right to build Cobre Panama infrastructure, such as the proposed tailings facility, on "Adjacent Concessions". However, that right is conditional upon proof that such areas do not contain mineralization that can be safely and economically extracted. Inmet claims that it has provided Petaquilla with drilling results for the area on which the tailings facility for Cobre Panama is to be developed which indicate that there is no mineralization of economic value in this area. Petaquilla is of the view that the drilling results are completely inadequate in that the drill holes were far too shallow and too far apart to provide any reasonable evidence of the absence of mineralization of economic value. If MPSA is not able to negotiate a resolution of this matter with Petaquilla, MPSA''s only option is to have the matter arbitrated. Petaquilla is of the view that, given the complexity of the issues involved, any arbitration would take as long as two years to be completed.
In short, Petaquilla continues to believe that MPSA will not be able to locate the tailings facility for its Cobre Panama Project in the proposed locations without Petaquilla''s agreement.
Shareholders should contact CST Phoenix Advisors, the information agent retained by Petaquilla, with any questions or requests for assistance by telephone at 1-800-332-6309 (North American Toll Free Number) or 1-201-806-2222 or by email at email@example.com. Further, Petaquilla shareholders are encouraged to regularly visit the Company''s website for current information at www.petaquilla.com.
About Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. - Petaquilla is a growing, diversified gold producer committed to maximizing shareholder value through a strategy of efficient production, targeted exploration and select acquisitions. The Company operates a surface gold processing plant at its Molejon Gold Project, located in the south central area of Panama - a region known historically for gold content. In addition, the Company has exploration operations at its wholly-owned Lomero-Poyatos project located in the northeast part of the Spanish/Portuguese (Iberian) Pyrite Belt and several other exploration licenses in Iberia.
Forward-Looking Statements - Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements or forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws ("forward-looking statements"). Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions, potentials, future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as "believes", "expects", "plans", "estimates" or "intends" or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might", "will" or "are projected to" be taken or achieved) are not statements of historical fact, but are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, alternative transactions or the terms and conditions of any alternative transaction. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company as of the date of such statements, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. A variety of inherent risks, uncertainties and factors, many of which are beyond the Company''s control, affect the operations, performance and results of the Company and its business, and could cause actual events or results to differ materially from estimated or anticipated events or results expressed or implied by forward looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on management''s current plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions and, except as required by law, the Company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements should assumptions related to these plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions change. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of PETAQUILLA MINERALS LTD.
Joao C. Manuel, Chief Executive Officer