LatinNews Daily - 03 January 2023

In brief: Talks over new mining contract continue in Panama

*Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has announced that the government had presented the text of a “final contract” to Canada’s First Quantum Minerals (FQM), which owns the major copper mine Cobre Panamá via its subsidiary Minera Panamá (MPSA). Cortizo’s announcement comes as talks unravelled last month over a new contract casting doubt over the project, which is the biggest single private investment in the country. On 28 December FQM announced that formal discussions between the two sides resumed on 26 December and were ongoing, adding that “operations at the mine continue as normal at this time with no disruption to production”. It notes that on 21 December MPSA received formal notification from Panama’s trade & industry ministry (Mici)’s national directorate of mineral resources of a resolution requiring MPSA to submit a plan within 10 working days to stop operations at the mine. It adds that “MPSA is working through a number of steps to respond to the resolution” and notes that MPSA has “initiated precautionary legal measures in the Panamanian courts and through arbitration under the existing concession contract and has also notified the government of its intent to initiate international arbitration under the Canada-Panamá Free Trade Agreement”.

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