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    Panama’s Decision to Halt First Quantum Mining Contract Sparks Public Debate

    ByThemba Hadebe

    Nov 12, 2023
    Panama’s Decision to Halt First Quantum Mining Contract Sparks Public Debate

    Panama’s congress recently made the decision to suspend the debate surrounding First Quantum’s new mining contract. Concerns and doubts have been raised throughout the country, leading to a visit by some members of the congress to First Quantum’s copper mine, Cobre Panama. This mining operation, located in the lush jungles of Panama, is a significant source of income for First Quantum and contributes around 4% to Panama’s overall GDP.

    The controversial contract, aimed at ensuring an annual income of $375 million for the Central American government, has attracted criticism due to the environmental impact of the mine and the permissions for further expansion. Opponents of the contract have expressed concerns about the negative consequences that mining activities may have on the environment.

    In response to the widespread objections, Panama’s trade ministry has expressed its intention to engage with company representatives in order to address the concerns raised. The ministry has voiced its desire to hold continuous meetings with the company to facilitate the necessary modifications to the contract.

    At present, Minera Panama, the company operating the Cobre Panama mine, has not issued a response regarding the matter.

    This decision taken by Panama’s congress has generated significant public debate, raising questions about the balance between economic development and environmental preservation. The growing awareness about the crucial need to protect the environment has led to an increased scrutiny of mining operations, particularly in sensitive regions such as the Panama jungle.


    Q: What is the main concern associated with First Quantum’s mining contract in Panama?
    A: One of the main concerns is the environmental impact of the mining activities, including potential harm to the Panama jungle.

    Q: How much income does the contract guarantee for the Central American government?
    A: The contract ensures an annual income of $375 million for the government.

    Q: What percentage of Panama’s GDP does the Cobre Panama mine contribute?
    A: The Cobre Panama mine contributes approximately 4% to Panama’s gross domestic product.

    Q: Has Minera Panama responded to the request for comment?
    A: As of now, Minera Panama has not provided a response regarding the matter.