Panama National Bank manages $20 million in mine worker mortgages

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By LatAm Reports Editor

Manager Javier Carrizo said they will be affected by this situation and that they are willing to help those who will eventually be out of work.

The National Bank of Panama will resent the closure of the copper mine, its general manager, Javier Carrizo Esquivel, confessed.

In mortgages only for workers in the mining project, the state bank has $20 million.

“Now they will have to see how they are placed, how new jobs are achieved and we will do everything we can to help them, but it is not pleasant news,” said the manager.

Last week, Cobre Panama asked the Ministry of Labour to terminate the contract of 4,000 workers, representing more than half of its workforce, after the company was communicated by the authorities about the cessation of operations.

Cobre Panama’s contractual relationship with the state was declared unconstitutional on November 28, leaving the mine without a legal platform to continue operating.

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At the level of our investment level, according to the manager of the National Bank, the withdrawal of the mining project does not help at all, as it sends the wrong message to the markets regarding the stability of investments in the country.

Not only is the National Bank affected by the closure of the mine.’

Minera Panama claims to have 7,300 workers and more than 2,000 suppliers.

The wages paid by the mine are among the best in the interior of the country.

The company announced a voluntary retirement program to its staff and then requested the Ministry of Labour to lay off 4,000 workers.

The company said it needs workers for the process of closing the copper mine.

First Quantum has filed an arbitration against the Panamanian state, released last week.

In addition, transactions will be damaged by food suppliers and the transport of heavy equipment contracted by the mine, among others.

“This affects Coclé’s economy, directly, and indirectly the whole country,” Carrizo Esquivel said.

Working together

On Monday, Cobre Panama presented 10 reasons why it will have to continue working in the territory, in order to guarantee a socially and environmentally sustainable future for the area where it will stop operating.

As part of the so-called closure plan, the company said the unplanned cessation of the mine’s operations requires a different preparation from existing plans.

It considers it necessary to maintain the safety and status of the mine’s assets, valued at more than $10 billion, protecting them from deterioration and their use in illegal practices.

In addition, continuous management of water must out and the adoption of international practices for the restoration of biodiversity.

Copper Panama assures that the process of cessation of operations of the mine must be managed by a high-skilled team with knowledge of

In the labor side, he suggests that as the measures of environmental stability and asset integrity are implemented at the site, “the workers involved in the process need clarity about their future, while continuing to contribute to the country.”

In the end, the mining company reported that further work will be needed to plan for future environmental and social impacts.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La Republica