First Quantum receives final contract for disputed mine, Panama says – by Chris Hannay (Globe and Mail – January 3, 2023)

Panama’s government says it has presented a final contract to Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. as part of negotiations to resolve a tax dispute that threatens to shut down the Cobre Panama mine.

Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo made the announcement Monday as part of a speech to the country’s national assembly, just a week after the government and company had returned to the negotiating table.

The dispute began a year and a half ago when Panama’s government began to push for a larger share of royalties from the copper mine. Talks dragged for months and broke down three weeks ago, which led to the government ordering an end to commercial operations at the mine and First Quantum pursuing arbitration under the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. Cortizo did not provide details of the contract, but said it would establish a fair relationship between both parties and require a minimum of US$375-million in annual tax payments from First Quantum, among other conditions.

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