Nationwide protests against mining projects are once again grabbing headlines amid a sweeping sense of urgency from governments and communities to gain greater control over minerals and metals that are essential for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
While nothing new, resource nationalism has ignited high-profile disputes in recent weeks, with First Quantum’s struggles in Panama and lithium miners’ in Portugal the two most radical examples.
Panama’s ratification of a deal with the Canadian miner allowing it to operate its flagship Cobre Panama copper mine for the next 20 years, triggered violent protests that brought Panama’s capital city almost to a halt.
It also scared away investors, forced authorities into a chaotic retreat, wiped out about $6.5 billion of value for shareholders of the company, and led to a nationwide ban on new mines. Throughout the controversy, and as the market waits to see if the Supreme Court will kill the agreement, the mine has continued to operate.
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