First Quantum Falls as Panama Court Casts Uncertainty on Project – by Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg News – September 25, 2018)

Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. headed for a one-week low after a ruling by Panama’s Supreme Court cast uncertainty over a major copper mine it’s developing in the central American country.

Local media in Panama reported that the court ruled on Monday that Law 9 — used to approve a mining concession contract between the state and Minera Petaquilla in February 1997 — was unconstitutional.

Minera Petaquilla, now known as Minera Panama SA, is majority-owned by Vancouver-based First Quantum. Company’s filings show it obtained the concession rights for the Cobre Panama project in 1997 under that law.

First Quantum’s shares fell as much as 6.8 percent, before closing 1.5 percent lower at C$15.72 in Toronto, the lowest since Sept. 17. A spike in trading of the company’s bonds also followed the news.

First Quantum said “the Supreme Court ruling only affects the enactment of Law 9, and does not affect the mining concession contract itself, which remains in effect, and therefore allows continuity of development of the Cobre Panama project,” according to a statement Tuesday.

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