Canadian miners facing big tax hikes as mineral-rich countries look to cash in on commodities boom – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 27, 2023)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd.’s tussle with Panama over taxes is a microcosm of a global phenomenon that threatens the profitability of some of Canada’s biggest mining companies, but worst-case scenarios of sites being nationalized will be the exception, not the rule, experts say.

Earlier this month, The Globe and Mail reported details of a tentative agreement between First Quantum and the Central American country that would see the big Canadian copper miner pay as much as eight times more in taxes.

Panama has joined scores of international mining jurisdictions – including Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Zambia, Mali, Papua New Guinea and Australia – that have pushed through, or have pushed for, royalty hikes, income tax increases and bigger ownership stakes in mines.

After spending big on social programs during the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are looking for ways to raise funds as their economies slow. With metals such as gold and copper trading near record-high levels, foreign mining companies reaping windfall profits are an easy target.

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