Panama election unlikely to shift outlook for First Quantum’s copper mine – by Valentine Hilaire and Elida Moreno (Reuters – April 18, 2024)

April 18 (Reuters) – Prospects are poor for First Quantum Minerals to recover its canceled concession for a lucrative copper mine after presidential elections in May, a Reuters review of the campaigns’ proposals and interviews with protest leaders show.

Protests against First Quantum’s concession demanding greater environmental guarantees and transparency in negotiations made authorities not only annul its contract to operate one of the world’s largest and newest copper mines but ban all new metal mining permits last year.

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First Quantum facing Panama mine shutdown this week, as Cobre Panama’s future rests on Supreme Court decision – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 21, 2023)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. says it will likely soon suspend production at its giant copper mine in Panama in the face of continuing protests, as its licence to operate hangs on an impending legal decision in the country.

Vancouver-based First Quantum has been in crisis mode since last month after Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo announced that a referendum will be held on whether to repeal the law that legalized its latest mining contract.

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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.

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Is Botswana Getting a Raw Deal From De Beers Diamonds? – by John Eligon (New York Times – June 29, 2023)

Botswana, in southern Africa, has partnered with the London-based diamond giant De Beers for decades. Many in the country are pushing to get a better deal from the industry.

Botswana produces more of the world’s diamonds than any country but Russia. But Botswana, a small landlocked nation in southern Africa, keeps only 25 percent of the rough stones extracted in its agreement with De Beers, an international diamond conglomerate. De Beers takes 75 percent.

That disparity has been at the heart of an argument by the president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, that his country is getting a raw deal from De Beers, a London-based company. Mr. Masisi has said that if Botswana does not get more, it might walk away from the half-century-old partnership when the current agreement expires on Friday.

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Fierce community opposition to copper, lithium projects threatens energy transition – by Editor ( – November 9, 2023)

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.

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China’s Ganfeng indefinitely postpones Mexican lithium target date amid gov’t spat – by Valentine Hilaire (Reuters – November 9, 2023)

MEXICO CITY, Nov 9 (Reuters) – A recent government push to cancel Ganfeng Lithium’s concessions has forced the Chinese company to indefinitely postpone its target to start mining the battery metal in Mexico, a company executive told Reuters.

Mexican mining authorities have issued a notice to Ganfeng’s local subsidiaries indicating nine of its concessions had been canceled, saying it had failed to comply with minimum investment requirements, the company said in an August filing.

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Mine Fire in Kazakhstan Kills 46, Accelerates Nationalization Talks – by Catherine Putz (The Diplomat – October 31, 2023)

After years of safety problems, ArcelorMittal confirms its in talks to transfer ownership to Kazakhstan. But a change of ownership won’t necessarily make mining any safer.

When a fire broke out at the Kostenco coal mine in Kazakhstan’s Karaganda region on October 28, 252 people were underground. Although 206 were safely evacuated to the surface, 46 miners died in the mine.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev did not mince words, calling ArcelorMittal – the international mining giant and parent company of ArcelorMittal Temirtau, which operates the Kostenco mine – “the worst in our history in terms of cooperation between the government and [a private] enterprise.”

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No more plundering: Can Africa take control in green mineral rush? – by BUKOLA ADEBAYO, JOANNA GILL AND KIM HARRISBERG (Japan Times – July 19, 2023)

JOHANNESBURG/LAGOS/BRUSSELS – From Zimbabwe’s lithium-rich rocks to Democratic Republic of Congo’s cobalt, minerals critical for clean energy technologies are increasingly in demand from Africa’s trade partners as part of the global green transition from planet-warming fossil fuels.

Yet on a continent long blighted by the so-called “resource curse” — whereby nations rich in oil or gold, for example, have failed to convert this into wider prosperity — governments have increasingly restricted or banned mineral exports in recent years in a bid to boost processing and retain more of the gains. This strategy could backfire, however, by deterring foreign investment, several analysts said.

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Mineral-Rich Developing Nations Demand Bigger Piece of the EV Pie – by Jon Emont, Juan Forero and Alexandra Wexler (Wall Street Journal – July 1, 2023)

Their policies are aimed at making the most of the clean-energy shift, but they also create challenges for it

Across the developing world, mineral-rich nations say they are moving to end the era of extract and export. Countries with vast deposits of the ingredients essential to making electric vehicles are digging in and trying to take a bigger share of the expected EV boom.

In parts of Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, governments are restricting the export of raw minerals, demanding that miners build processing plants locally and looking to tighten control over foreign-operated mines. The steps are sometimes described as resource nationalism, and their increasing popularity is reshaping supply chains that underpin the shift toward cleaner forms of energy.

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The energy transition and the risk of resource nationalism – by Carole Nakhle (GIS Report – May 12, 2023)


Some countries have a stranglehold on the materials the world needs to build a low-carbon economy.

The energy transition to a low-carbon world is mining-intensive and vulnerable to resource nationalism. To achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the pivot toward curbing greenhouse gases will spur unprecedented demand for some of the most critical materials used in renewable energy generation and storage.

From solar panels to wind turbines, battery storage, electric vehicles and electricity cables, green technologies and infrastructure all rely heavily on different sets of minerals and metals. To keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, graphite, lithium and cobalt production will need to rise more than 450 percent by 2050 from 2018 levels – and that is just to meet demand from energy storage technologies.

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Namibia considers taking stakes in mining and petroleum companies – by Kaula Nhongo (Bloomberg News – May 29, 2023)

Namibia is considering taking minority stakes in mining and petroleum production companies amid increasing concerns over local ownership of valuable resources.

“We are making a case that local ownership must start with the state, which holds ownership of our natural resources,” Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo told lawmakers on Monday. “The proposed state ownership should take the form where the state owns a minimum equity percentage in all mining companies and petroleum production, for which it does not have to pay,” he said.

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Botswana president insists on bigger share of diamonds from De Beers venture (Reuters – May 25, 2023)

GABORONE, May 25 (Reuters) – Botswana will not back down on demands for a bigger share of rough diamonds from its joint venture with De Beers, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Thursday, upping the stakes as talks for a new sales deal appear to be stalling.

Botswana and De Beers mine the precious stones through their equally owned, 54-year-old mining venture, Debswana Diamond Co. The current diamond sales deal, in place since 2011, has been extended three times since 2020 but is set to expire next month.

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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.

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Resource nationalism on the rise in top mining countries — report – by Editor ( – October 25, 2021)

The last year has seen a rise in resource nationalism — or the risk of thereof —in an extensive and fast-rising number of countries, including top mining countries, market analyst Fitch Solutions finds in its latest industry report.

While resource nationalism had been relatively contained geographically speaking in the past to Sub Saharan Africa, and localised countries such as Indonesia, it is spreading across the world and is now noticeable in SSA (the DRC, Mali, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Guinea), Latin America (Mexico, Peru, Chile), North America (the US), Europe (Russia) and Asia (Indonesia, Mongolia), Fitch reports.

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Centerra ups the ante as it accuses Kyrgyzstan of high-grading Kumtor – by Staff ( – September 27, 2021)

Centerra Gold (TSX: CG) has asked an international arbitrator to impose ‘urgent interim measures’ on the Kyrgyz Republic and state miner Kyrgyzaltyn JSC to address alleged “critical operational and safety issues” at the Kumtor mine.

In its latest application, Centerra seeks immediate relief pending a final award in the arbitration to prevent the defendants from “causing irreparable damage to the mine.”

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