Canadian Mining Company Wants to Contribute to the Closure Plan of its Disabled Mine in Panama

    Cobre Panamá is an investment of US$10,000 million, whose operation represented 4.8% of the GDP

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    The subsidiary of the Canadian First Quantum Minerals (FQM), whose operation of the largest open pit mine in Central America was disabled by a court ruling in Panama, offered this Friday its “knowledge and experience in planning for the safe management of the site” during its final closing process.

    The contract that last October renewed for 20 renewable years the exploitation of the Cobre Panamá mine, operated by the company Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of FQM, was declared unconstitutional by the country’s Supreme Court on November 27, in a ruling that indicated that said The agreement violated 25 articles of the Magna Carta issued after the largest street protests in decades in Panama against mining activity.

    The mine, with 3,000 million tons of proven and probable reserves and a processing capacity of 85 million metric tons per year (mtpa), ceased operations and the Government announced this week a strategy for its orderly and definitive closure of about six months. duration, which contemplates a “temporary plan for environmental preservation and safe management” and the design of an “Ordered Final Closure Plan and Post Closure of the mine.”

    Planning for the safe management

    “We show our willingness to participate in formal discussions and to offer our knowledge and experience in planning for the safe management of the site, particularly with respect to the multiple environmental, social and economic factors that must be considered,” said a statement from Cobre this Friday. Panama.

    It is necessary, added the FQM subsidiary, “to establish the panel with multidisciplinary experts and international organizations to prepare a plan that has the participation of the company, given our deep experience and knowledge of the site.”

    6 to 18 months

    The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Jorge Rivera Staff, has told local media that the preparation of the ‘Action Plan for the Orderly and Definitive Closure of Cobre Panama’ will take between 6 and 18 months at a cost of 1.5 million dollars, and that its execution could take between 7 and 9 years at a cost of between 800 and 1,000 million dollars.

    The plan, presented last Tuesday by Minister Rivera, contemplates three specific strategies: orderly and definitive closure; the defense of the State before international arbitrations; and the sustainable substitution of metal mining in the national gross domestic product (GDP).

    FQM has already announced the start of international arbitration before a court based in Miami (USA) and has shown its intention to start another based on the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Panama.

    Minister Rivera said that the Canadian mining company, whose market value plummeted after the judicial decision against its operation in Panama, has filed four requests for arbitration, three of which are intentions invoking trade agreements with Canada and Korea. of the South, and the one presented in the International Court of Arbitration in Miami.

    Copper Panama is an investment of 10 billion dollars, whose operation represented 4.8% of GDP, according to data from the company, which began exporting that mineral in 2019.

    It was the only exploitation of this mineral in Panama and in 2022 it was the fourteenth largest copper mine in the world in production, according to data provided to EFE by the International Copper Study Group (ICSG, for its acronym in English). .

    With a payroll of 7,000 direct employees, more than 2,500 have already taken part in a voluntary retirement program, the company announced last weekend, which is also managing the dismissal of 4,000 people, according to the information available.

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