Miner First Quantum faces rocky road as Panama protesters dig in

View of the Cobre Panama mine, of Canadian First Quantum Minerals, in Donoso, Panama, December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Aris Martínez/File Photois bracing for a rocky road ahead as Panama moves to strike down its contract to operate one of the world’s largest copper mines.

President Laurentino Cortizo’s decision to call the referendum followed days of protests by thousands of people over concerns the contract is too favorable to First Quantum, involved corruption, and that the mine is harmful to the environment.to the rule of law with the objective of benefiting Panama. First Quantum and its local unit Minera Panama declined to comment further.

The stakes are high for both First Quantum and Panama’s economy. A decision to cancel the Cobre Panama mine’s contract couldThe mine, which accounts for approximately 5% of the country’s GDP and supports more than 49,000 direct and indirect jobs, is Panama’s second-largest revenue source after the Panama Canal. headtopics.com

Panama should not be “sold for a few cents,” said protester Adriana Linares. “People on the street have a very clear objective, which is to strike down the approved contract.” A spokesperson for Canada’s Global Affairs department, in an email to Reuters, said Canada has consistently advocated for a resolution that benefits all Panamanians and is monitoring the situation.

The number of workers per shift has been reduced at the mine due to food shortages prompted by road blockades and protests, Michael Camacho, a leader of the mine’s workers union told Reuters. “The timing has been highly unfavorable,” former Finance and Economy Minister Frank De Lima told Reuters, adding the scenario could be different if it was not for the upcoming election. headtopics.com

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