Canadian mining company at centre of deadly Panama protests has no plans to scale back – by Pete Evans (CBC News Business – November 11, 2023)

Shares in First Quantum have dropped 40% since opposition to mining contract exploded recently

The Canadian mining company that controls a massive copper mine in Panama says it has no plans to alter its operations despite widespread local protests against the firm’s mining contract that have escalated and turned deadly.

Last month, Vancouver-based First Quantum Minerals Ltd. was awarded a contract to continue operations at a massive open-pit copper mine in Panama. The terms of that deal, which give the company the right to mine the site for at least the next two decades in exchange for $375 million US a year to the government, have become a flashpoint for local groups, some of whom oppose the mine plan for financial and environmental reasons.

That opposition has escalated into broader anti-government protests that officials say are costing Panama $80 million US a day.

The mine faces legal and constitutional challenges from the country’s top court, and citizens may get a chance to vote on the contract extension in a referendum next month. But last week, First Quantum said it was “confident with respect to its legal position” and reiterated the economic benefits of the mine.

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