LatinNews Daily - 15 November 2022

In brief: Panama sets deadline for new mining contract

*Panama’s government led by President Laurentino Cortizo has set the deadline of 14 December for Canada’s First Quantum Minerals which owns Cobre Panamá, a major copper mine via its subsidiary Minera Panamá, to sign a long-awaited contract. In January 2022 First Quantum agreed to increase its royalty payments to US$375m a year among other changes to its contract. However, the new contract has yet to be completed. A statement issued by Panama’s trade & industry ministry (MICI) cites MICI minister Federico Alfaro as saying that the government has set 14 December as the deadline for the contract to be signed, adding that the mine’s future is “critical to the people of Panama, its workers, and to First Quantum”. The statement cites him as saying that the two sides had “a serious and frank conversation with First Quantum [and] we were very clear about the required path forward for [its] execution.” A June 2022 statement by First Quantum notes that since Cobre Panamá began operations in June 2019, copper concentrate has become the country’s leading export, accounting for over 75% of total exports. It notes that in the first five months of 2022, Panama’s exports totalled US$1.5bn, of which 76.5% corresponded to copper concentrate produced by the Cobre Panamá mine.

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