LatinNews Daily - 14 November 2023

In brief: Key Panamanian mine reduces operations due to blockade

* Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has announced that its subsidiary, Minera Panamá S.A (MPSA), has begun to reduce ore processing operations at the Cobre Panamá copper mine in Panama. It cites disruption to its operations due to “an illegal blockade of small boats at the mine’s Punta Rincón port which has affected the delivery of supplies”. Panama has faced major disruption in recent weeks amid protests over a new contract between the government and MPSA regarding Cobre Panamá which has led the international credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to revise down its outlook for Panama. An FQM statement, which notes that the mine contributes “approximately 5% of Panama’s GDP and makes up 75% of the country’s export of goods”, warns that if normal port activities do not resume, the reduction of ore processing at Cobre Panamá will “directly impact over 7,000 employees and contractors as well as an additional 40,000 people whose livelihood is directly associated in providing services to the mine”. It adds that this is estimated to represent over 2% of the Panamanian national workforce, “who in turn support an estimated 100,000 Panamanians”. FQM adds that the mine will “need to significantly reduce the purchase of supplies and services that are equivalent to US$20m in weekly revenues to over 2,000 Panamanian companies”.

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