Panama began negotiations for a new contract with Canadian mining company

Overview of the negotiations. Photo: Courtesy MICI Panama.
Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

Panama – The Panamanian government began negotiations with Minera Panama, a Canadian company First Quantum to sign a new contract for the operation of a large copper mine that would allow it to receive better benefits from the operations of the mining complex, considered the largest private investment in the country that exceeds 6 billion.

Copper Panama, located about 120 kilometers west of the capital in the province of Colón, ranks among the largest mines on the continent with 3.100 million tons of proven and probable reserves, according to the company.

Minister of Commerce of Industries, Ramón Martínez. Photo: Courtesy.

When setting up the negotiating table, the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Ramón Martínez said that the Panamanian State seeks "to establish the agreements of a completely new contract" and not to renegotiate the current one in order to guarantee better dividends for the exploitation of the mine operated by Minera Panama, whose largest shareholder is First Quantum.

The negotiations will include economic aspects, environmental, labor, social and fiscal nature, the official said.

Panoramic copper mine. Photo: Courtesy Minera Panamá.

"... we are not going to continue with conditions like the ones we have ..." said the minister, after highlighting that if they did not manage to reach agreements “… with fairer conditions for our country, Well, a different company will have to come, Martinez stated.

The current concession contract to operate Cobre Panamá comes from 1997, and although the authorities recognize the impact it has on economic growth, Popular movements question the mechanisms of open-air exploitation due to the impact.

The spokesperson and member of the negotiating team of Minera Panama, Manuel Aizpurúa said through a statement that they trust the negotiation to be a "frank, robust, comprehensive and transparent ".

“We count on that it will be a space of respect towards the investment of private capital, and legal security that promotes a win-win result for all parties involved, and for the country ", added Aizpurúa.

The operations of Cobre Panamá have an impact of 3.5% on the Gross Domestic Product (Schedule) Panamanian, according to an official statement.

Negotiations begin more than two years later, after the Panamanian president, laurentino Cortizo, before taking the reins of the country in 2019, pledged to seek better dividends for the country for the exploitation of Cobre Panamá.