First Quantum Minerals seeks to solve Panama Copper crisis through dialogue with new government

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By LatAm Reports Editor

First Quantum Minerals Ltd., owner of the Copper Panama mine, is in the search for a solution to the conflict that has led to the closure of the mine.

According to Bloomberg reports, the company has issued a statement expressing its interest in engaging in a dialogue with Panama’s elected president, José Raúl Mulino, with the aim of working together once he takes office, to find a resolution that is in the best interests of the country.

Mulino gave details about the mine crisis in an interview with Colombian media W Radio.

The new president attributed the crisis to two main reasons: the lack of effective government over the past five years and the poor management by First Quantum in its relationship with the Government. Although the mine remains inactive, Mulino stressed the need to address the problem urgently and responsibly.

The current situation can’t last. We must explore the possibility of opening to close. The costs associated with the closure of the mine are too high to be borne by Panama or any other entity. I propose to use the resources generated by the mine to start a gradual and controlled process of closure,” Mulino emphasized.

The president-elect also stressed that the contract with First Quantum cannot be revived because of its unconstitutionality. It recognized the seriousness of the situation and the need to address it without compromising the environment or stability of the country.

Mulino will take office on July 1 and will face this challenge from the first day of his term. It should be noted that Cobre Panama ceased operations in December, following a ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Meanwhile, the question arises about what will be done with the copper concentrate stored in the Donoso mine. Rivera Staff, a government official, said that before the end of the current administration, a decision will be taken on the fate of this material.

In addition, the Government will have to determine who owns the more than 130 thousand tons of concentrated copper, valued at more than $200 million.

The situation of the Cobre Panama mine represents one of the most urgent challenges for the new Government, which will have to find a solution that guarantees the economic and social stability of the country, without compromising its environmental or legal heritage.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeered in La Estrella