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    First Quantum Faces Challenges at Cobre Panama Mine Amidst Protests

    ByByron Bekker

    Nov 21, 2023
    First Quantum Faces Challenges at Cobre Panama Mine Amidst Protests

    TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2023 – First Quantum Minerals Ltd. has encountered difficulties at its Cobre Panama mine as its subsidiary, Minera Panama S.A., has been forced to reduce ore processing operations. The disruption is a result of an illegal blockade of small boats at the Punta Rincón port, affecting the delivery of essential supplies and hindering the loading of copper concentrate onto vessels.

    While First Quantum and MPSA support the right to peaceful protest, the illegal actions at the port have significant implications for the operations at Cobre Panama. This comes in addition to ongoing protests and blockades in other parts of Panama, which have adversely impacted the lives of its citizens and the country’s economy. The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama estimates the daily cost of these protests and blockades to be between $60 and $90 million. As a consequence, credit rating agencies S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch have taken negative credit actions for Panama.

    MPSA is adopting a cautious and responsible approach to navigate these circumstances, prioritizing the health, safety, and well-being of its workforce, as well as the proper management of the site and tailings storage facility.

    The continued disruption at the port will directly affect over 7,000 employees and contractors, as well as 40,000 individuals who rely on providing services to the mine. This represents over 2 percent of Panama’s national workforce, further supporting an estimated 100,000 Panamanians. Additionally, the reduced purchasing of supplies and services would lead to a weekly revenue loss of $20 million for more than 2,000 Panamanian companies. The Cobre Panama mine contributes around 5 percent to Panama’s GDP and accounts for 75 percent of the country’s export of goods.

    After a decade in Panama, First Quantum remains committed to constructive dialogue with the people of Panama to address their concerns and build a long-term relationship. The company emphasizes its right to protect itself using all available options within its contractual rights and international law.

    For more information, please visit our website at www.first-quantum.com or contact Bonita To, Director of Investor Relations, at (416) 361-6400 or toll-free at 1 (888) 688-6577 or via email at [email protected].

    FAQ

    1. What is causing the disruption at Cobre Panama mine?
    The disruption is a result of an illegal blockade of small boats at the Punta Rincón port, which has impacted the delivery of essential supplies and loading of copper concentrate onto vessels.

    2. How are the ongoing protests affecting Panama?
    The ongoing protests and blockades across the country have been estimated to cost between $60 and $90 million per day, posing significant economic challenges for Panama and its citizens.

    3. What is the impact of the disruption on employment?
    Over 7,000 employees and contractors at Cobre Panama mine are directly affected, along with an additional 40,000 individuals who provide services to the mine. This represents more than 2 percent of Panama’s national workforce.

    4. How does Cobre Panama mine contribute to Panama’s economy?
    Cobre Panama mine contributes approximately 5 percent to Panama’s GDP and accounts for 75 percent of the country’s export of goods.

    5. What is First Quantum’s approach to address the concerns raised by the people of Panama?
    First Quantum is committed to engaging in constructive dialogue with the people of Panama to address their concerns and establish a long-term relationship.

    6. What options does First Quantum have in protecting itself?
    First Quantum emphasizes its right to protect itself using all available options within its contractual rights and international law.