Aluminum and Copper

Negotiations over major copper mine contract kick off in Panama

Negotiations over major copper mine contract kick off in Panama
Mining News Pro - Panama's government launched contract talks on Wednesday with the local unit of Canada's First Quantum in a bid to get the Canadian miner to pay more in royalty payments and improve environmental conditions at its flagship copper mine.
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President Laurentino Cortizo pledged just before taking office two years ago that a new contract for the lucrative Cobre Panama open pit mine should provide more.

The mine, located about 120 km west of the Panamanian capital, is estimated to hold 3.1-billion tonnes in proven and probable reserves. It has generated some $6.7-billion in private investment, and includes two open pits, a processing facility, two power plants and a port.

Cobre Panama alone contributes 3.5% of the country's gross domestic product, according to government figures, and at full capacity can produce more than 300 000 t/y of copper.

Ramon Martinez, Panama's trade and industry minister, said in a speech on Wednesday the negotiations would lead to a "completely new" contract, suggesting that if a fairer deal is not reached another company could be invited to take over the mine.

Toronto-based First Quantum, which holds a 90% stake in the Minera Panama local unit that runs Cobre Panama, began operations at the project in 2019.

Minera Panama negotiator Manuel Aizpurua said in a statement that he expects the negotiations to balance the public interest with the company's legal rights.


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