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Canadian Copper Mining Company Minera Panama and Its 2+ Decade Old Petaquilla Mining Operation


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Cortizo rejects Minera’s ‘little games’ calls for RESPECT

Posted 16/12/2022

Panama President Laurentino Cortizo, clarified Friday that for Minera Panama to have a legal contract, it must first go through the National Assembly to be approved or rejected.

"It cannot be that you modify or extend a Law contract through a resolution, that does not work that way and the lawyers know it," said the President.

He argued that what the Government is asking for is to obtain greater contributions from the company since if the company is doing well, the State must be doing well.

"It has not been on a whim, we have presented the proposals of how we reached $375 million a year and they consider it reasonable in writing, but we cannot continue in that little game where we reach an agreement and then they send us another proposal," he said. .

"What do we want as a country?",  - Respect, we want Minera Panama and any company to do well in this country, but President Cortizo is not going to lend himself to that little game," he said.

He stressed that the doors are open to finding a solution in favor of the country, which creates trust between the parties, but "not to continue with the little game."

Earlier, the Minera Panamá company sent a statement stating that it was "disappointed" by the attitude taken by the Government and alleging that in 2017 it had extended the contract until 2037, which is legally in force

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/cortizo-rejects-mineras-little-games-calls-for-respect

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Panama orders suspenion of Canadian mining giant

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Posted 16/12/2022

The Cabinet Council has instructed the Minister of Commerce and Industry to suspend the operations of Minera Panama said President Laurentino Cortizo in a report to the nation on Friday, December 15.

Cortizo explained that the Cabinet Council instructed the Minister to execute a preservation and safety management plan that goes in the direction of the care and maintenance of the mine.

The Minister of the Environment was also instructed to continue with the control and supervision of environmental efforts at the site. And to the Minister of Labor, to take measures to protect sources of employment and guarantee employment benefits."All Panamanians, rest assured that the government will seek the best options to guarantee the sustained maintenance of the mine through a contract that establishes fair benefits for the parties," president. One year after the talks began between the Minera Panamá company (a subsidiary of Canadian mining giant First Quantum and the government to reach a contract that would grant a legal basis to the operation of the Cobre Panamá mine, located in Donoso, Colón, the reached an agreement.

After the decision of the Supreme Court) of December 21, 2017, which established the unconstitutionality of the Law 9 contract of February 25, 1997, became final in December 2021, and negotiations intensified.

In January 2022, the president had announced an agreement that required the mining company to guarantee a minimum annual royalty payment of $375 million, improve worker conditions, provide greater protections for the environment, and promote the well-being of local communities. through social works. Then, in a public statement, the mining company considered the royalty that it had to pay to the Panamanian State reasonable but later retracted it.

"The company did not comply with the agreed commitments...", said the president.

On the night of December 14, when the deadline to reach a deal was reached the mining company showed “unreasonable” demands, which instead of bringing positions closer, pushed them away the government said. It refused to accept the draft contract offered by the Panamanian State, which respected the conditions of the January 2022 agreement. On the contrary, it insisted on undermining royalties and demanded tax exemptions and tax credits, a position that the government considered “ regrettable".

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama-orders-suspenion-of-canadian-mining-giant-1

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Government  moves to protect workers’ rights at closed mine

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Posted 17/12/2022

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development (Mitradel) is moving to protect labor benefits and the rights of the 7,000 workers who work in Minera Panama.

 "The actions that the authorities are already carrying out will prevent external agitators, and spokespersons for the Mining Company, from being able to confuse the workers with unfounded exaggerated versions," according to reports says La Estrella.

Due to the massive size of the day-to-day operation of the mine, the Government authorities have to act with "great responsibility and tact, so that the entire transition process -which is already underway- is fulfilled without problems. President Cortizo instructed the Minister of Commerce so that through a resolution, Minera Panamá closes commercial operations. In other words, its status will only be maintained.

Protecting assets
Protecting the valuable assets of the mine is another priority at this time. It is necessary to make the changes that are necessary, and that Minera Panama properly executes the "Care and Maintenance" plan for the assets and facilities in general, which is its full responsibility, including maintaining the workforce.

Carrying out all the changes ordered in the Cabinet Resolution is not an easy task. Such a mining complex cannot be “turned off” like someone who presses the button on a television in their living room. This will be positive for everyone, only if an orderly, informed, serious transition is achieved in the coming days, and is supported by all the parties involved.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/government-moves-to-protect-workers-rights-at-closed-mine

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Talks between Panama and Canadian mining giant enter third day

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Posted 28/12/2022

The company Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of  Canadian First Quantum, reported Wednesday, December 28, that talks with the Government have entered the third day in order to reach a beneficial agreement for both parties on the Cobre Panamá project, in Donoso, Colón.

“We appreciate the constructive engagement of the Government of Panama this week. The preferred option for both parties is to reach a balanced agreement that benefits all parties for many years. We have ambitious plans for Cobre Panama and strongly believe that an agreement would pave the way for additional investment in Panama and its people," said Tristan Pascal, First Quantum's chief executive officer in a statement released by the company.

The talks resumed after the company, together with its holding company First Quantum Minerals, announced that they are taking steps to start two arbitration processes against Panama.

One of the processes involves a commercial arbitration against Panama under the 1997 contract, declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and the other is an investment arbitration, under the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Panama (FTA).

In Wednesday's statement, First Quantum affirmed that Cobre Panama's operations currently continue without interruptions in production.

On December 21 they received a formal notification from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries for the suspension of commercial operations and to place the project in "care and maintenance."

Information in development…

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/talks-between-panama-and-canadian-mining-giant-enter-third-day

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Talks with Minera Panama are suspended

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Posted 10/01/2023

The Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata has confirmed that talks with Minera Panamá are currently suspended so that the company complies with the care and maintenance plan that has been requested.

Therefore,  she said, the National Government is respecting the legal terms that have been given to the subsidiary.

She added that the mining company has been establishing its resources and the Government is supporting the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment in the process.

Last week, the Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción , confirmed that Minera Panamá requested to make the environmental measures that had already been agreed upon more flexible.

Minera Panamá requested more land to operate the mine, according to the environment minister

Among those measures would be obtaining more land to operate the mine, which would represent more deforestation.

According to Concepción,  the Government "has not given in to these requests ."

On  December 19, 2022, the National Government, in compliance with the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice, by which the 1997 contract was declared unconstitutional, ordered  Minera Panama to prepare a plan to put the mine under care and maintenance. 

The Government has said that, throughout this process, it has worked with international and Panamanian legal advisers , preparing for all possible scenarios, in order to guarantee the defense of national interests and the rights of mine workers.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/talks-with-minera-panama-are-suspended

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Criminal complaint against mining giant

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Posted 13/01/2023

A criminal complaint for the alleged commission of crimes against the environment and tax fraud was filed on the morning of  Thursday, January 12, 2023, against the company Minera Panamá S.A.

The complaint – filed by the lawyer Roberto Ruiz Díaz – is based on the fact that Minera Panamá has continued to exploit natural resources in the district of Donoso, province of Colón, despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice declared the contract signed between the company and the Panamanian State since December 21, 2017.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/criminal-complaint-against-mining-giant

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Fitch believes  Panama and mining giant have too much not to agree

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Posted 30/01/2023

Due to the weight of the Cobre Panama project in First Quantum's finances, as it contributes more than 40% of its copper production and the mine's 4% contribution to Panama's gross domestic product, Fitch believes that both parties will be able to reach an agreement on the missing points to sign a new contract.

However, the risk rating agency estimates that before all obstacles are overcome, the copper mine will be under the maintenance stage for a period of six months.

On January 10, the Canadian mining company filed an appeal with the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) to stop the order issued by the Directorate of Mineral Resources to stop the commercial operation of the mine and place the project in a maintenance stage. where the processing plant will operate at its minimum capacity, but without exporting the copper concentrate.

The MICI has a period of 2 months to accept or reject the appeal, during which time the mine can continue to operate normally, including the dispatch of the mineral through the port of Punta Rincón, where in recent weeks the arrival of ships to transport the concentrate to countries such as China, Spain, Germany, among others. “We see significant uncertainty about the time required to negotiate and finalize an agreement, and the rate of mine utilization during this time. We conservatively assume that Cobre Panama will be put into care and maintenance and will operate at reduced capacity for six months in 2023, before returning to normal operations," Fitch said in its report where it announced that it placed the default rating of Cobre Panama on negative watch. issuer and a B+ senior unsecured rating.

During the summons made by the plenary session of the National Assembly, the MICI minister, Federico Alfaro Boyd, assured that the Government is not renegotiating the points agreed upon in January 2021 and that the differences to agree on a new agreement are related to the percentage of royalties that will be paid when the depletion of the reserves is established; the wording of the clauses for substantial breach and termination of the contract, as well as how much the State must pay the company in case of breach of contract, regardless of whether it occurs due to causes attributed to the company or the State.

In the latest statement sent to the Toronto Stock Exchange, First Quantum reported that it continues to interact with the Government of Panama and that it remains ready to reach an agreement that is fair and equitable for both parties.

The company says it is prepared to accept and pay a minimum of $375 million per year to the state, made up of corporate taxes and a profit-based mining royalty of 12% to 16%, with downward protections.

Country ceiling 
In addition to the importance in terms of the production of Cobre Panama for First Quantum, the mine allows the company to access better financing conditions.

A rating that implies a high-country ceiling is associated with lower interest rates, better financing conditions, and more capital contribution.

In the case of Fitch, the firm maintains a "country ceiling" for First Quantum's ratings of A-, since the project is in Panama, a country that has investment grade with a sovereign rating of BBB- but warns that the valuation could decrease in case the period of maintenance and care is extended for more than six months.

“Assuming Cobre Panama operates at reduced capacity for only six months in 2023, it is likely that the cash flows generated from Panama will be sufficient to cover hard currency gross interest expense, which will support the applicability of Panama's country ceiling of A-, indicates the signature.

However, if the time is longer, the country ceiling would change to Zambia, which is B-, since the most profitable projects for the company are in that country after Cobre Panama.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/fitch-believes-panama-and-mining-giant-have-too-much-not-to-agree

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Board of mining giant in Panama with no plans to meet governmentBoard of mining giant in Panama with no plans to meet government

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Posted 03/02/2023

The shares of the Canadian mining giant First Quantam fell 6.6% on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Canada, after the  company reported an accident at one of the deposits of the Trident project in Zambia, which caused the death of one of its workers, while another is in delicate condition.

The projects on the Zambian Copperbelt after Cobre Panama, are the most profitable for the Canadian company. Hence, the concern of investors, after the closure of the  Panama deposit, while actions are taken to guarantee the safety of workers in the mine.

In addition to the accident in Zambia, investors are closely watching the visit of senior mine executives this week in Panama.

Michael Camacho, director of the Union of Minera Panama Workers (Utramipa), confirmed to La Prensa that Tristan Pascall, CEO of First Quantum Minerals, along with a delegation of senior executives from the company, were yesterday Thursday at the mine located in the mountains of Donoso, province of Colón.

Camacho indicated that until yesterday they had no confirmation of a possible meeting between the workers and the executive level of the company and added that to date they have not been informed of any new developments in the open process between the Government and the mining company to reach the signing of a new contract.

The Reuters news agency had reported that a source from the Canadian company indicated that no meeting with members of the government of Laurentino Cortizo had been included on the agenda.

On Wednesday, February 1, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries circulated a 1:04-minute video on social networks in which it reiterated that the company refuses to honor the agreements reached in January 2022 and that, on the contrary, it has introduced new economic points that would affect the income that the State should receive from the exploitation of its mineral resources.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/board-of-mining-giant-in-panama-with-no-plans-to-meet-government

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Only two points separate Donosco mine negotiators

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Posted 17/02/2023

Spokesmen for the  Panama Government and the Canadian company First Quantum announced that there are only two pending points to reach a consensus on the terms of a contract governing the activity of extracting copper from the mountains of Donoso, in Colón, for the next 20 years.

But neither party has relaxed the measures to put pressure on the other.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Mici) has not responded to the appeal filed on January 10 by Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of First Quantum, against the order to put the Cobre Panamá project into maintenance and care. The Mici has a period of two months to resolve t the appeal.

On the other hand, the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) has not made a decision on the appeals filed by the company to lift the restriction on the operation of the port of Punta Rincón. On January 26, the AMP ordered the stoppage of the port operation, determining that the company did not have the certification of the scales that are used to determine the exact amount of the material exported.

Tristán Pascall, CEO of First Quantum, announced that on February 20 the mine will run out of storage space, causing the cessation of operations.

While the Government maintains its position of only signing the contract under the terms accepted by the company in January 2022, First Quantum is advancing with the first of the arbitrations that it announced ln December against the Panamanian State, after the Cabinet Council ordered the cessation of the commercial operation of the mine, arguing that it was complying with the ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Justice in 2017, in which it declared the 1997 contract that opened the doors to open-pit mining in Donoso unconstitutional.

Sales and profit
This week it was reported that the Cobre Panama project generated sales of $2.959 billion in 2022 and a gross profit of $1.65 billion.

Since the start of operations in mid-2019, the mine has generated sales of  $8,118 billion.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/only-two-points-separate-donosco-mine-negotiators

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Mining company halts hiring and ends overtime

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Posted 18/02/2023

The First Quantum company reports that it has stopped the process to fill 595 vacancies in the Cobre Panamá project, located in Donoso, Colón province.

 A statement, by Alan Delaney, manager of Cobre Panamá, said that the measure is the result of the suspension that the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) ordered on January 26 of the operations of the port of Punta Rincón.

The company has indicated that on February 20, the mine will reach a reserve of 100,000 tons of concentrate, which is the maximum that can be stored in the deposits.

In addition to halting the hiring of more staff, the company has suspended overtime and will begin sending workers on vacation.

Michael Camacho, leader of the Panama Mining Workers Union (Utramipa), commented that on average each worker accumulates three hours a day, although it depends on the area where he works.

Regarding the AMP order to suspend the operation of the port, Camacho indicated that there are 300 workers who work in the dock area, warehouse and the thermoelectric plant.

In the 13,600-hectare concession, operated by Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of First Quantum, there are currently 3,241 field workers, while another 2,700 are in administrative work.

In the note sent to the workers, Delaney points out that the company continues with its intention to sign the new contract with the Government, although the authorities have made new demands.

February 15 marked two months since the Cabinet Council ordered the suspension of operations of the copper mine, a measure that is currently under appeal.

On December 14, 2022, the term that the Government had given Minera Panama to sign the new contract expired under the terms accepted by the company in January of last year and which includes the minimum annual payment of $375 million The payment would be made up of a percentage of royalties on gross profits that would range between 12% and 16%, plus taxes.

The new contract would be totally different from the one signed in 1997 where royalties of 2% on gross sales were established, but the company was exempt from paying taxes.

   In 2017, the Supreme Court declared Law 9 of 1997 unconstitutional, which served as the basis for the contract that opened the doors to open-pit mining in the Donoso area.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/mining-company-halts-hiring-and-ends-overtime

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Minera Panama to cease processing Thursday

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Posted 20/02/2023

Minera Panama has sent a note to the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) informing them of the "imminent suspension of mineral processing operations at Cobre Panama, due to the restriction on loading copper concentrate at the port of the mine in Punta Rincón”.

The note signed by Alan Delaney, general manager of Minera Panamá SA, was sent to Noriel Arauz, administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority, on Sunday, February 19.

“Our team has done everything possible to create additional storage space. However, without the ability to load and ship our product, we are about to run out of storage capacity on site. Therefore, as a consequence of the concentrate loading restrictions, we have no alternative but to suspend processing operations at midnight Thursday, February 23. This suspension would lead to substantial and irreparable damage to the mine and all those who benefit from it, ”said the Minera Panama note.

The note requests support to resume loading operations at the port.

If we are allowed to load the vessel, MPSA (Minera Panamá SA) would have the storage capacity to continue operations for approximately 15 days.”

"This request also indicates that they are requesting the loading permit while “meetings with the Government continue regarding a renewed concession contract for Cobre Panama. In recent weeks, in fact, significant progress has been made, and we believe it is important to give an opportunity for this to continue," said Minera Panamá

The note ends by noting that “it does not seem conducive for all this to be endangered, nor that all those who in some way benefit from Cobre Panamá should be harmed. Therefore, we respectfully request that the AMP urgently take the necessary measures to avoid this interruption and detriment to the production of the mine and Panama”.

Currently, the Government of Panama and Minera Panamá are in negotiations for the exploitation of the copper mine in Donoso, the previous contract was declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Justice.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/minera-panama-to-cease-processing-thursday

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Workers demand concensus in mining talks

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Posted 23/02/2023

The workers of Minera Panamá (MPSA) took to the streets, in Panama City and in Penonome, Cocle province, expressing their concern about the labor situation they face.

The miners marched from Plaza 5 de Mayo to the Presidential Palace, to demand an answer from the Government regarding the guarantees of their jobs, since the company has announced the suspension of operations, which will incur in the departure of workers from the project.

Employees are asking for an explanation of what will happen to them, processing closes, and how contract negotiations are progressing.

Similarly, in Penonome, the workers marched on the Inter-American Highway, affecting vehicular traffic.

Workers and suppliers are asking the parties to reach a consensus that allows them to sign the agreement, to continue with the operation of the mine.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) reported that they are focused on the talks under the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Minera Panama and the State.

Meanwhile, the Mining Chamber of Panama asked the parties that are in negotiations to promote the necessary and reasonable conditions through dialogue and without reaching "extreme situations" of pressure.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/workers-demand-concensus-in-mining-talks

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Mining giant and Panama government at loggerheads

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Posted 23/02/2023

Negotiations between the Panamanian government and the Minera Panamá company, a subsidiary of the Canadian First Quantum, are at their peak on Thursday,  February 23 the first day of the complete cessation of activities at the Donoso mine.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Mici) stressed that there is no concession contract in force because the mining company has refused to endorse the agreement agreed on January 17, 2022, which implied an annual contribution of at least $375 million to the State. Last December, Minera Panamá presented a counterproposal and, since then, the parties had allegedly advanced in a 20-point negotiation, in which there was already consensus on 18. But on January 26, the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) ordered the closure of the port of Punta Rincón, which the mining company uses to export, which is why First Quantum announced that it was suspending its operations as of this Thursday since it ran out of storage space.

The Mici considers that Minera Panamá engages in " delaying tactics " that have lengthened the process for more than a year, "trying to change the agreement in which the Panamanian State will not receive the fair compensation it deserves for its natural resources,".

It urges the mining company to comply with the regulations and processes necessary for the safe operation of the mine, and "refrain from creating unrest and uncertainty about the stability of the thousands of workers and suppliers that depend on mining activity."

In its statement, the Mici reiterated that using "pressure mechanisms" does not contribute to improving the levels of understanding that both the State and Minera Panama require for a fair, balanced, and satisfactory relationship.

"The National Government maintains its position that the signing of this agreement will represent the best interests of the Panamanian people, respecting the rights of the company and its workers," concludes the official letter.

In a statement, Minera Panama states that it considers that all the AMP requirements have been duly met and exceeded. However, the AMP "has continued to block export operations," the company says.

 Minera Panama announced that it will begin a partial demobilization of its workforce of more than 8,000 workers and contractors, "whose impact is expected to increase significantly in the following weeks if concentrate shipments are not resumed."

In addition to the reductions in the workforce, the mine said that it has stopped buying supplies and services that -according to the company itself- are equivalent to 20 million dollars in weekly income from more than 2,000 Panamanian companies (always according to their calculations).

"Minera Panama is taking a systematic approach to scale back operations to ensure the safety of its workforce, prevent damage and deterioration of equipment, and preserve the integrity of the mine," it said.

In the midst of this scenario, the company also announced that negotiations with the Government of Panama on a renewed contract continue.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/mining-giant-and-panama-government-at-loggerheads

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Business Chamber asks ‘good faith’ in mining  talks

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Posted 26/02/2023

Panama’s  Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the latest association to join the growing number of voices calling for seriousness, maturity, and "good faith" in negotiations carried out by the Government with Minera Panama for the signing of a new concession contract for the exploitation of the copper mine in Donoso, Colón.

In their weekly newsletter, they highlight that, for more than two months, Panamanians have been carefully recording the limited information provided by both the National Government and Minera Panama in the negotiation process that involves them and that generates great repercussions at the national level.

“Due to the propaganda war between the parties, at present, the negotiations seem to have come to a halt, leading the parties to apply pressure measures that transcend negatively, not only in the image of the negotiation process but also in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Panamanians impacted by the situation and who remain on edge waiting for a resolution.

“That is why, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries, and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) makes an urgent call to resume " in

‘good faith’ and redirect the negotiations and conclude these, bearing in mind that the best interests of the country should be above all.”

They add that both parties must stand up and look at the common good, knowing that in any negotiation it is necessary to give in one way or another, for the sake of understanding.

“The actions demonstrated so far seem to drive away any possibility of an agreement, thus impacting the vision of the nation, economic recovery and sustainable development; since it will also affect employment and increase the distrust of local and international investors. In this context, nobody wins, we all lose.”

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/business-chamber-asks-good-faith-in-mining-talks

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Mining negotiations “in final stretch” - Cortizo

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Posted 04/03/2023

Panama President, Laurentino Cortizo, said Friday, March 3 that the negotiations to reach a new agreement with Minera Panama are "in the final stretch", despite the "obstacles encountered with the representatives of the mine".

I feel that we are already in the final stretch to reach an agreement, but that agreement has to be beneficial for Panama, and Panamanians."

Cortizo said that he understands the concern of the population for the negotiations with Minera Panamá and stressed that on his "shoulders is the negotiation of a good contract with the mine, which is beneficial for all Panamanians. No to a cluster".

Currently, the Government of Panama and Minera Panama are in talks for the exploitation of the copper mine in Donoso, the previous contract was declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Cobre Panamá is a mining project located in the province of Colón. It is considered one of the largest copper deposits in the world and is operated by the Canadian company First Quantum Minerals.

 The copper mine consists of a porphyry copper deposit, which is a geological formation containing copper, gold, and molybdenum ores.

The project includes an open pit mine, a mineral processing plant, and transportation infrastructure including a seaport.

Construction of Cobre Panama began in 2011 and commercial production began in 2019. The mine has an estimated life of more than 40 years and is expected to produce approximately 350,000 tons of copper a year.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/mining-negotiations-in-final-stretch-cortizo

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Government reaches accord with Canadian mining giant

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Posted 08/03/2023

After weeks when both sides trades accusations of not wanting to reach an agreement, The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Mici) announced Wednesday that the Government reached an agreement on the final text of the contract with the Canadian mining company First Quantum.

The Mici statement indicates that annually the State would be receiving at least $375 million in taxes and royalties.

The contract is for 20 years, with an option to be extended for an additional 20 years.

"The most important thing is that this contract is beneficial for Panama and Panamanians while creating the necessary conditions for Minera Panama to continue its operations under a fair and equitable investment environment," said the head of Mici, Federico Alfaro Boyd

For his part, Tristan Pascall, CEO of First Quantum Minerals Ltd, highlighted that after “a long and arduous process of talks, the proposed concession contract outlines the bases for the future of Cobre Panamá. We look forward to a long and constructive association with Panama for years to come."

It was anticipated that the contract will be available to the population during a 30-day public consultation process. Once this part has been completed, the Cabinet Council will be responsible for evaluating it and, authorizing the Minister of Commerce to sign the contract, after which it will be submitted for review and endorsement by the Comptroller General and

presented to the National Assembly for approval and subsequently be sanctioned by  President Cortizo.

Suspension lifted
First Quantum said that the Panama Maritime Authority will issue a resolution on Wednesday,  to lift the suspension that weighed on the port of Punta Rincón since January 26, due to failures in the certification process of the scales used to weigh the material that was exported.

“Ore processing is expected to resume and restore the mine to full production levels over the next few days,” the Canadian company said.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/government-reaches-accord-with-canadian-mining-giant

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Maritime Authority ends closure of mining port

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Posted 11/03/2023

The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) has ended the suspension of operations of the port of Punta Rincón, through which the company Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of the Canadian First Quantum, exports the copper concentrate that it extracts from the Cobre Panamá mine, in the mountains of Donoso in the province of Colón.

This was confirmed by spokespersons for Minera Panama. The company had communicated that once the suspension was lifted, it would be in a position to resume port operations in a short time.

The AMP decreed the ban on Puerto Rincón on January 26 after informing the company that it had not presented the certifications of the scales installed on the belts that transport the copper concentrate from the port terminal to the ships.

The ban was perceived by the company as a pressure measure implemented by the Government to reach a consensus on the final text of the new concession contract, which finally occurred on Wednesday, March 8.

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Federico Alfaro Boyd, had indicated that the AMP was the entity responsible for the operations of the port terminal.

Not being able to ship the copper through Punta Rincón, First Quantum stopped processing operations on February 23, after reaching -according to the company- the maximum storage level, some 10,000 tons of material

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/maritime-authority-ends-closure-of-mining-port

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Canadian mining giant reports $606 million sales from Panama  in first quarter

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Posted 29/04/2023

The Canadian company First Quantum reported that the Cobre Panamá project, located in the mountains of Donoso and Omar Torrijos, in the province of Colón, generated sales of 606 million dollars in the first quarter, which represents a drop of 18% compared to the previous quarter. same quarter of 2022.

The decrease is attributed to the prohibition that the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) kept in force on the port of Punta Rincón from February 23 and March 8, in the midst of the dispute between the company and the Government over the signing of the new mining contract

Tristán Pascall, CEO of First Quantum, reported that on March 10, two days after the port was allowed to resume operations, the company reached its maximum production and shipping capacity.

Between January and March, Cobre Panamá processed 18.5 million tons of rock material, a production that generated 65,427 tons of copper, 16% less than in the same quarter of 2022. Additionally, the mine produced 23,078 ounces of gold and 568,75 silver.

Cobre Panama's gross profit in the first three months of the year was $181 million, while Ebitda, a financial indicator of gross operating profit calculated before deducting financial expenses, was $314 million.

In the presentation of the financial statements of the mining company, Pascall reported that during the first quarter, the construction work for the expansion of the mine was completed, which will allow Cobre Panama to achieve, by the end of the year, a production of 100 million tons. Likewise, he noted that the construction of the molybdenum plant is progressing "well" and estimated that the first production will be registered in the first quarter of 2024.

Despite the suspension of operations at Cobre Panamá, First Quantum did not change its production forecast for 2023 and expects to reach 380,000 tons of copper by the end of the year, surpassing the 350,000 recorded in 2022. Regarding gold, the company maintained its estimate of achieving a maximum production of 160,000 ounces.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/canadian-mining-giant-reports-606-million-sales-from-panama-in-first-quarter

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Catholic  environmental network rejects Minera deal

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Posted 11/05/2023

The Mesoamerican Ecclesial Ecological Network (Remam) has called on the National  Assembly to reject the agreement with Minera Panama because it conflicts with the country's environmental and constitutional legislation.

According to the organization, metal mining is not sustainable in a country with a wealth of water and biodiversity and the climate vulnerability of Panama. This is supported by many international and national studies.

It notes that the total area of use and easement for the mine is 17,780.38 hectares, including the tailings management facility, it is in the middle of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and the Donoso Protected Area, which contradicts the legal system of the country.

It also criticizes the excessive advantages that the contract offers the company, such as acquiring, or leasing State or privately-owned land without limit, inside or outside the concession.

“The State also undertakes to expropriate the lands that are necessary to expand the concession, even if the mining company pays compensation," which cannot be allowed.

It also does not agree with the labor advantages offered to the company that owns the concession, such as being above the norms of the Labor Code, "putting them in a special condition or enabling inferior working conditions and remuneration in the mining area in contrast to the rest of the country.

Regarding the economic benefits that the country will receive, Remam states that the payment of the $375 million agreed as Minimum Guaranteed Income (IMG) is very relative because it can be decreased for multiple reasons, such as the drop in the price of copper in the market.

Therefore, Remam called on the Legislative Branch not to approve a contract that seriously damages the sovereignty and future of the country, but also "the common home", which is the planet.

Pope Francis
They cite a phrase from Pope Francis: "Environmental protection should be an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation."

 They extend a call to Christians, universities, environmental organizations, and others to propose a phased closure of mining exploitation, within reasonable terms that do not violate international schemes and agreements.

“We invite all the citizens of this country to “create an “ecological citizenship” that leads us to behaviors that have an impact on caring for the environment…”, the network states.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/catholic-environmental-network-rejects-minera-deal

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Commerce Committee recommends withdrawal of Minera Bill

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Posted 28/09/2023

The Commerce Commission of the National Assembly recommended Thursday morning, September 28, to the Executive Body to withdraw the bill that establishes the contract with Minera Panamá.

The group of deputies from the different benches that make up the Commerce Commission agreed to suspend the discussion of the bill.

According to the deputies, they made the decision to suspend the discussion in the first debate of bill No. 1043 because several points must be analyzed.

After making that decision, the deputies worked on a resolution to request the Executive Branch to withdraw the bill from the National Assembly. 

Earlier in the day construction workers had demonstrated in front of the Assembly against the mining contract.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/commerce-committee-recommends-withdrawal-of-minera-bill

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Upcoming week of moves against mining contract

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 Posted 30/09/2023

The United People's Alliance for Life, the National Alliance of the Organized People (Anadepo), and the Single National Union of Construction and Similar Industry Workers (Suntracs) announced several pressure measures that they will be exerting in rejection of the mining contract,  despite the fact that its discussion was suspended reports TVN.

Among the measures that the groups will take are:

Monday, October 2 a march called by Anadepo

Tuesday, October 3, a total closure during the day in different points nationwide.

Thursday, October 5, a complaint against Minera Panamá will be filed at the Attorney General's Office.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/upcoming-week-of-moves-against-mining-contract

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Cabinet withdraws mining contract from National Assembly

Posted 03/10/2023

The Cabinet Council on Tuesday, October 2 authorized the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Federico Alfaro, to withdraw from the National Assembly bill 1043, which contains the new mining concession contract between the Panamanian State and Minera Panamá, to make the adjustments required and indicated by the Commerce Commission of the Legislative Body.

At the meeting, the Cabinet  noted that " during the weeks of extensive debate, the opinions of organizations, unions, unions, citizens and residents of areas surrounding the mining concession were collected, both in the National Assembly as in the visits to the communities of Coclesito, La Pintada, and Miguel de la Borda, which made comments to the bill."

In a statement, the Executive Body detailed that "having completed this process and having addressed the concerns of citizens about the mining contract, in the coming days the Executive will work together with the company Minera Panamá, to agree on the wordings that resolve the points indicated by the Commerce Commission of the National Assembly".

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/cabinet-withdraws-mining-contract-from-national-assembly

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Canadian mining giant ready to review adjustments to state contract

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 Posted 05/10/2023

While environmental and union organizations continue their opposition, the Canadian mining giant First Quantum, whose subsidiary Minera Panamá manages the copper extraction project in Donoso (Colón), announced on Wednesday, October 4, that it is prepared to review the adjustments to the mining contract with the Panamanian State.

“We have always maintained an open position to dialogue and are prepared to analyze and review the four adjustments mentioned in the Resolution. Our objective is to collaborate with the government to find a solution that allows the approval of the contract,” is reflected in a statement published by the company.

The reaction comes after the Cabinet Council authorized the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Federico Alfaro, to request the National Assembly to withdraw bill 1043, which approves the mining concession contract, concluded between the Panamanian State and the Minera Panamá company, to make the required adjustments.

On September 28, the Assembly's Trade and Economic Affairs Committee suspended the discussion, in the first debate, of the project. The reasons why the deputies proposed to the Executive to take their bill were: the articles that have to do with the restriction of airspace, the possibility of expropriation, and the distribution of the final benefits of the mining concession.

The company said that it was aware of the resolution of the legislative commission that proposes adjustments to the contract and that the priority is to ensure a contract that protects the investment made, guaranteeing its legal security and providing stability for workers, communities, suppliers, and shareholders.

The decision of the Commerce Commission came after several weeks of consultations with the parties involved and now it is up to the Executive and the company to sit down and discuss the points to reconsider.

Environmental and union organizations are calling for a complete review of the document.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/canadian-mining-giant-ready-to-review-adjustments-to-state-contract-2

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Cabinet  approves changes to mining contract as opponents plan march

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Posted 11/10/2023

The Cabinet announced on Tuesday, October 10 that it has approved the modifications to the mining contract that were agreed with Minera Panamá, following suggestions made by the Commerce Commission of the National Assembly but still faces protests from opposition groups.

According to the Executive, clauses related to land expropriation were eliminated from the contract.

The Government assures that the company can only explore, extract, and exploit copper and its associated minerals in the concession area in the districts of Donoso and Omar Torrijos (Colón).

The Government says that minerals cannot be extracted outside the concession area.

In a statement, the Executive also informs that the company's right to request restricted access to final beneficiaries was eliminated and that this information is subject to the general law of Panama.

An important aspect to highlight is that the scope of these changes with respect to other articles in the contract must be evaluated.

For example, if the expropriation clauses are eliminated, it would be necessary to review whether the articles related to the project being of national interest were also eliminated because this would open a door to expropriation.

The draft of the new contract must be presented once again to the National Assembly for evaluation.

In a recent statement, Minera Panamá had said that it was willing to sit down with the Government to analyze the recommendations made by the Assembly's Commerce Commission.

Some sectors that oppose mining exploitation expressed their rejection of the announcement and The National Alliance People United for Life announced a march for Thursday, October 12, to the Presidency to reject the new agreement.

“For us, it is a situation of consternation because this contract does not solve the problems that Panamanians have been pointing out, such as environmental issues and the effects that this contract has on the climate issue,” said leader Marco Andrade

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/cabinet-approves-changes-to-mining-contract-as-opponents-plan-march

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Minera mining contract approved in third reading

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Posted 20/10/2023

While streets across the country were blocked by protestors The National Assembly approved  Friday, October 20, in the third debate, the mining contract between the Panamanian State and Minera Panamá, for the extraction of copper in Donoso, province of Colón with 47 votes in favor, 6 against and 2 abstentions. Friday's session only lasted approximately 40 minutes. At 11:10 am, after the approval and the traditional souvenir photo, the president of the Assembly declared a recess until Monday.

After the contract was presented to the Assembly by the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Federico Alfaro last Monday, October 15, the project received three

Now it will be up to President Laurentino Cortizo, to sanction the law on the contract.

Only five deputies participated in this Friday's debate; the independents Raúl Fernández, Juan Diego Vásquez, Walkiria Chandler, and Edison Broce, and the PRD representative Zulay Rodríguez.

During the debate independent deputy Raúl Fernández stated that the document does not establish a general mine closure plan.

Independent deputy Juan Diego Vásquez reiterated that this document did not receive due consultations.

PRD representative Zulay Rodríguez pointed said that Panama must file a countersuit against Minera Panamá for the “irreversible environmental damage they are committing.”

Representative Walkiria Chandler highlighted that with this contract the health, life, heritage, sovereignty, and future of Panamanians are being compromised.

Edison Broce emphasized that the population is concerned about how the country is being managed.

The new mining contract underwent some modifications after the document was withdrawn from the Assembly on September 28.

The modifications agreed between the Executive and the company were announced on Tuesday, October 10.

Minister Alfaro highlighted the retroactivity scenario that this project has from December 2021, since the company will pay $395 million, after the ruling of unconstitutionality issued by the Supreme Court of Justice on the previous contract.

Several groups have held protests rejecting the agreement.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/minera-mining-contract-approved-in-third-reading

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